Tuesday, January 18, 2011

FTA Issues Record of Decision for Honolulu Rail!

Today’s issuance of a Record of Decision by the Federal Transit Administration was one of the most significant events in Honolulu’s decades-long attempt to build a modern rail transit system.

FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff presented the document to Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle and Toru Hamayasu, general manager of the City’s Rapid Transit Division, at FTA offices in Washington, DC. Said Rogoff:

“Today marks an important milestone in Oahu’s quest to become a more transit-friendly island. With the completion of the National Environmental Policy Act process, the City of Honolulu has met all of the laws and regulations of the environmental review, and we look forward to the day when Honolulu’s citizens can ride the rails in comfort, breathe cleaner air and avoid getting stuck in time-wasting traffic jams.”

Carlisle also spoke of rail’s potential “to provide residents with a sensible alternative to our congested roads and highways and improve their overall quality of life.” Carlisle noted construction of Honolulu’s 20-mile system “will also create thousands of jobs and fuel our state’s economy. It’s time to get those shovels in the ground.”

Events have moved quickly since Governor Neil Abercrombie accepted rail’s final environmental impact statement on December 16, a crucial step that Abercrombie’s predecessor had refused to complete.

“The Record of Decision) is a huge accomplishment and reflects the strong confidence the FTA has in this project,” Carlisle said in a statement. “Our transit team has worked closely with FTA throughout the process, and this shows that our plan is sound and our project is on solid footing.”

A number of other steps are required before construction can begin on Phase 1 of the project.

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