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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Governor calls rail survey question "misleading"

Advertiser Staff

Gov. Linda Lingle today dismissed the findings of a People's Pulse survey indicating that more than two-thirds of residents oppose conducting another rail transit study, calling the question used in the survey "poorly worded and misleading" and questioning the credibility of the survey's sponsors.

"The vested interest shared by the People's Pulse Survey co-sponsors Hawai'i Business Roundtable and Pacific Resources Partnership resulted in a poorly worded and misleading survey question," Lingle said in a new release issued this afternoon.
Lingle noted that the question failed to acknowledge her obligation to review and approve the final Environmental Impact Statement, which is currently awaiting release from the Federal Transit Authority.
"Under the law, the Governor must review the final EIS to ensure that it satisfactorily describes all impacts on the environment, economic and social welfare, and cultural practices; incorporates an objective review of opposing alternatives; an responds to each substantive comment received during the draft EIS process.
The release reiterated Lingle's intention to conduct an independent analysis of the project's financial plan.
The survey question read: "The City and County of Honolulu last year has already spent $3 to 5 million [sic] on an Environmental Impact Statement for the fixed rail mass transit project. The EIS was submitted to the Federal Transit Authority last year. Now the State says it wants to do its own audit of the mass transit's financial plan. Overall, which do you favor?
Making a decision on a fixed rail transit system based on the current EIS
Having the State commission a new study on transit's financial plan
Don't know
According to the survey, 67 percent of residents favored making a decision based on the current EIS; 22 percent wanted a new study; and 11 percent did not know.