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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 3:26 p.m., Thursday, November 7, 2002

Lingle weighing 'super zipper' highway; hangs up on Dobelle

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

Governor-elect Linda Lingle says she is considering a proposal to create a "super zipper" reversible highway from Kapolei to downtown to sharply cut the number of hours that Leeward commuters spend in their cars each day.

Lingle said she does not know what the cost would be of such an elevated highway that would rise above the existing freeway for carpool or high-occupancy vehicles.

She said the idea would be help commuters by "giving them their own roadway to get in and out of town." There would be no on-ramps or off-ramps for in-between destinations.

Lingle suggested that some people might be willing to pay $1 each way for the time savings. She said she sees the proposal as a key quality of life issue for many residents. "There is a certainly a potential for some sort of toll arrangement," employers in that area.

"You're just going to have to be a lot more creative I think than we have been," she said. "To allow the traffic gridlock to continue from that side of the island, I think dooms the Second City and takes people away from their families for hours every day and I think we can make a big improvement."

Job applications

Lingle said she is forming screening committees now to help go through applications of people who want to join her administration. She envisions them coming up with three nominees each for key positions so that she could determine the finalists.

The one appointment she did confirm was that her campaign manager Bob Awana will serve as her chief of staff. Lingle cited as other priority appointments: the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture and a tourism position within her office.

Dobelle call

Lingle also said she was surprised and disappointed that University of Hawai'i president Evan Dobelle chose to endorse her opponent, Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono in the closing days of the campaign. She said she agrees with Dobelle's Asia-Pacific focus ideas and believes she will be able to work with Dobelle on the important university ideas.

But she made it clear that she faulted him for a bad decision. Lingle said Dobelle called her to tell her about the Hirono endorsement before the television ad aired. Her response? "It was not a pleasant conversation and I hung up the phone on him."

Lingle said she believes Dobelle now understands that endorsement was inappropriate but she's ready to move forward. "An incident like that will never divert my attention or his attention from our responsibility to the people of Hawai'i and to ensure that the University of Hawai'i is the best it can be."