Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rep. Brower: Lack of precedent compels lawmakers to act on ferry

Rep. Tom Brower has an op-ed in this morning's Star-Bulletin about finding a remedy to allow the Superferry to resume service while an environmental assessment is conducted. He also expresses concern about overdevelopment on the neighbor islands, having just visitedMaui and Kauai on a site tour:

Within the past month I visited Maui and Kauai and met with their city and state departments. I believe the Superferry is not nearly as major a growth concern when compared with other transportation projects occurring on these islands. I am very concerned about overdevelopment.

Consider Maui's Honoapiilani Highway expansion, new Lahaina bypass road and the Upcountry 10-mile highway project, as well as Kauai's new lane additions to Kuhio Highway and Kaumualii Highway, and the permanent Kapaa Bypass Road, to name a few. These projects are designed to ease congestion but will ultimately lead to increases in building, population and sustainability challenges.

In addition, more mainland and international flights are scheduled to arrive at these islands, bringing even more people. August 2007 -- DBEDT's most recent statistics -- show that Maui and Kauai collectively received nearly 300,000 mainland visitors while Oahu received 250,000.

An alternate transportation option, like the Superferry, is needed to expand the economy, unite families and promote business opportunities while complementing our tourism industry. We must be mature enough and visionary to help the Superferry set the precedent of environmental accountability and fair development standards. If it's done right, residents will soon want competing Superferry price wars.

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