"Bills would extend Superferry deadline"
Pacific Business News (Honolulu) by Chad Blair
...Two measures moving through the Hawaii Legislature, Senate Bill 989 and House Bill 1171, would amend special legislation approved in 2007 that has allowed Superferry to continue interisland operations.
...The special legislation, called Act 2, will sunset 45 days after the end of the Legislature’s 2009 session on May 7.
SB 989 and HB 1171, part of Gov. Linda Lingle’s legislative package, would extend that deadline until June 2010.
...The comment period on the draft EIS, prepared for the state by Belt Collins, Hawaii, and published Jan. 8, ends Feb. 23.
Once the comments are incorporated, the draft EIS will be submitted to the state Office of Environmental Quality Control between May 25 and June 19, followed by publication of a final EIS by June 30.
SB 989 is tentatively scheduled for a hearing in Senate committee Thursday. HB 1171 has not yet been scheduled...
Additional recent PBN article on related subject matter: Hawaii Superferry, Kamehameha Schools top list of lobbyists
Atty.Gen. and DOT Testimony on SB989: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2009/Testimony/SB989_TESTIMONY_ENE_2-12-09.pdf
Here is my Testimony on SB989:
Honorable Committee Members:
This proposal is not entirely unexpected as it was mentioned in the final report of the Lingle-DOT controlled Oversight Taskforce Committee. But, why are not any of the other recommendations of the OTF Final Report included in this bill for which the Lingle Administration is again lobbying the Legislature?Consistent with the 'closed class of one' nature of Act 2 and DOT's exclusive operating agreement with HSF, this measure changes the playing field in mid-course for the benefit of one company and to the detriment of timing for any other potential 'large capacity ferry vessel' company, just so DOT can have the convenience of more time to finish the Act 2 'EIS.' Contrary to DOT's testimony, this bill does NOT add to the public's time to comment on the Act 2 'EIS.'
The saga and tangled web that they weave continues to develop. Meanwhile the unfunded expenses of this total project are quickly approaching $10 million dollars overbudget, at the same time that Hawaii schoolkids are asked to do with less in the schools.
HSF has actually already proven itself unviable and will continue to be so because the vessel's operational design is not properly matched to the distances and conditions between the Hawaiian Islands.
Enough is enough. The Legislature should stop assisting the Lingle Administration with this private concession boondoggle. The Lingle Administration has already been given everything they need for this project to succeed or not on it's own.
We call upon the Senators to make a statement of righteousness and reject this unnecessary Bill SB 989.