"Lingle: Politicians' role in Superferry 'pathetic'"
Pacific Business News (Honolulu)
Gov. Linda Lingle told a group of Native Hawaiian business leaders on Maui that the lack of support by the business community and “pathetic” political leadership contributed to the demise of the Hawaii Superferry.
“I think there are few episodes that have been as pathetic in the lack of political leadership as there were in that Superferry situation,” Lingle told the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce meeting on Friday.
“I know that in my opinion, the majority of people support the Superferry – certainly the business community did – but they weren’t very clear about it. They weren’t very vocal about it. They didn’t really put too much effort. They certainly didn’t put much effort as those who were against.”
Facing a series of adverse court rulings that curtailed and then halted its operation between Oahu and Maui, the Hawaii Superferry stopped sailing in March and later declared bankruptcy. Various courts found that the Lingle administration and the Legislature had circumvented a state law requiring an extensive environmental review before the Superferry was allowed to operate.
In a 35-minute speech to the Maui group, the Republican governor didn’t dwell on the Superferry but used it as an example of how groups tend to coalesce around efforts to oppose projects or initiatives, but rarely offer alternatives.
“The Superferry decision and the lack of support that we received from the business community and the political leaders of Maui had consequences. Everybody knew what they were against. Everybody was quick to talk about the process that wasn’t followed, and that we should have followed a different process, in their opinion. They drafted laws to tie our hands, and to make it difficult for the Superferry to survive
“There were consequences for the political leadership here not stepping up and coming out strong and saying, ‘We need this. If there were steps that weren’t followed, let’s get that handled; but we’re for this alternative for our people.’ ”
With projects like a proposed telescope for Haleakala, an undersea cable to bring power to Oahu from Molokai and Lanai and various windfarms and wave-energy plans for Maui, Lingle urged business leaders and citizens to consider the long-term consequences of opposition...
A video of Lingle’s speech can be found at www.hawaii.gov/gov
Public opinion doesn't really mean anything on that unless the public and their government want to pay for the ships and run the whole operation at a subsidized loss. There are places in the world where the local government does do that, like Trinidad and Tobago, but that is because they don't have a good interisland airline industry. An interisland ferry never has and never will do well here, 1.) because we have a very competitive interisland airline industry, and 2.) because the interisland distances means that from a cost effective fuel consumption standpoint, the one way transit speed would take about 5 hours. The 3 hours that HSF did was fuel cost ineffective. People just don't have the patience for that when they can do it in 30 minutes on a plane.
In the end this was all one big lesson on Linda Lingle's and JFL's fallen political ambitions and personal obstinance, something that Linda Lingle continues to exhibit to this day as conveyed by this story.
R. G. September 8, 2009 7:57PM EST
"there are few episodes that have been as pathetic in the lack of political leadership as there were in that Superferry situation" - did she refer to herself and her administration?