Lingle says Honolulu rail project needs 'adjustment' due to recession
By Sean Hao and Gordon Pang
Advertiser Staff Writers
Gov. Linda Lingle at a news conference today said the planned $5.5 billion Honolulu commuter rail project needs to be adjusted due to the current economic downturn.
“I’ve raised two concerns at this point. A major concern is the cost of this project in today’s atmosphere and what I see as difficulty for our community in the years ahead to get our revenues on track. People might say it’s a city project but it affects 80 percent of the state. And to knowingly go into a project that is going to burden people financially for a generation to come, again, a project that the community perhaps cannot afford, I think there needs to be adjustment.”
Responding to an article in The Advertiser today, Lingle said, “The financial numbers as you read about in the article in the morning paper I think are important. I’ll also be in Washington in February and one of my appointments will be with the U.S. Department of Transportation to talk about this project. Everything we know about it from the federal DOT is what we’ve heard via the city. And I want to talk directly to them – I want to know what do they think of the financing plan.”
Responding to Lingle's comments, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said in an e-mail, "It's amazing that, in the absence of any state project that would create the thousands of jobs that the rail transit project will, that the governor of this state continues to throw up roadblocks, especially since she championed elevated rail during her first year in office. She's sounding more and more political every day, rather than cooperating with the city on a project that the people of Honolulu voted for in the last election that will undoubtedly help the state out of its economic doldrums."