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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 12, 2010

Lingle urged to fast-track rail plan

Advertiser Staff

Thirteen of the 25 state senators yesterday sent a letter to Gov. Linda Lingle urging her to review and accept the final environmental impact statement for the Honolulu rail-transit project in a timely manner.

The EIS is still being reviewed by federal agencies and has yet to be given to Lingle.

A similar letter signed by 39 members of the state House of Representatives was sent to Lingle on Feb. 10.

The city needs Lingle's approval before it can proceed with construction of the $5.3 billion East Kapolei-to-Ala Moana train line.

The final version of the environmental study was expected to be given to Lingle in December, but has been delayed by an extended federal review. The city has provided Lingle with a draft of the study.

Lingle has said that once she receives the final environmental impact study, she plans to conduct an independent analysis of the city tax revenue forecasts that are the basis of the project's financial plan.

Lingle has said her decision to have the city's forecasts analyzed was prompted in part by lower-than-anticipated tax revenues, which are needed to pay the city's portion of the project's costs.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann has urged Lingle to sign off on the EIS quickly so the project can move forward and create new jobs.

The 13 senators who signed the letter: Mike Gabbard, Will Espero, Clarence Nishihara, Michelle Kidani, Suzanne Chun Oakland, Gary Hooser, Brickwood Galuteria, Roz Baker, David Ige, Jill Tokuda, Bobby Bunda, Norman Sakamoto and Shan Tsutsui.