Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Letters on the Toll Road Debate

The recent op-eds by Rep. Lee and Rep. Cabanilla on the issue of transportation privatization, particularly toll roads, have sparked some letters to the editor of note:

This in the Star-Bulletin:

Think hard before privatizing roads
Thank you for the sobering and hard-nosed opinion piece from Rep. Marilyn Lee about the troubling trend toward privatizing roads (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 2). She reports that New Jersey's Gov. Jon Corzine, after many months of study, declared that he would not sell off his state's roads to a private operator.
Before becoming governor, Corzine headed Goldman Sachs, a company that has collected tens of millions of dollars arranging road privatization deals for other states. From the financial point of view, arguably nobody knows more than Corzine about road privatization. His actions with his own budget speak louder than any words and should give pause to any legislator considering these road sell-offs.

Phineas Baxandall
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
Boston, Mass.

And this in The Advertiser:

Sen. Kalani English's words in his commentary, "Superferry: Debate is healthy, necessary" (Nov. 27), contradict his behavior with regard to House Bill 70. His closing words are: "And as the task force created by the Superferry bill performs its mandated review of ferry operations, I hope there will always be room for discussion and diversity of opinion."
And yet, look at the senator's behavior in the 2007 legislative session. HB 70, which would authorize the state to charge tolls on highways, was passed by the House. However, when it crossed over to the Senate, Sen. English, as chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, refused to allow it to be heard.
Further, when Rep. Rida Cabanilla asked the O'ahu Metropolitan Planning Organization to request that the senator reconsider his squelching of the bill, he objected vehemently. In a letter to OMPO, he criticized Rep. Cabanilla, saying that she was interfering with Senate business, and, in a real stretch, cited the Law of the Splintered Paddle as "justification" for not allowing the bill to even be considered by the Senate.
Some would use the term "hypocrisy" to describe the senator's behavior regarding HB 70, while he purports to encourage debate, discussion and diversity of opinion.
Let's hope for the sake of the public that the good senator has a change of heart in the 2008 legislative session, and allows HB 70 to be heard, debated and discussed in the Senate.

Randy Leong

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