HI Leg wants Superferry back

SUBHEAD: Momentum grows at Capitol to bring Superferry back to Hawaii. SOURCE: Dick Mayer (dickmayer@earthlink.net) Image above: The second Hawaii Superferry (Huakai) at Austal USA Alabama dock with ramp extended. [Editor's note: KHNL-TV and deranged members of the Hawaii legislature are still working hard to promote the return of the HSF despite evidence that the Defense Department already has plans for the two vessels. Check the red high-lighted paragraphs in two article below.] By Leland Kim on 6 April 2009 on KHNL-TV http://www.khnl.com/global/story.asp?s=10140913&ClientType=Printable A plan to bring back the Superferry gains steam at the Hawaii state legislature. Lawmakers are looking at several ideas that could potentially bring the high-capacity ferry service back to our waters. The first idea was started by former Hawaii attorney general Michael Lilly, and the idea is changing our environmental laws to eliminate secondary impact considerations. The plan to bring the Alakai right back to Pier 19 is gaining momentum at the Hawaii state Capitol. A plan to rescue the Hawaii Superferry is underway. Sen. Fred Hemmings (R-Lanikai, Waimanalo and Hawaii Kai) says there's a chance a bill can be passed this session that could open the doors for the ferry service to come back. "It's extremely feasible," he said. "The legislature makes the laws for the state of Hawaii and we can amend the laws, and even this late stage of the legislative process, there's ways to amend bills to include clarifying environmental protection laws." The plan would eliminate secondary impact considerations during an environmental review process. Environmental groups say the laws are necessary, but Sen. Hemmings disagrees. "A reasonable law, the environmental protection act, has been prostituted by extremists: extreme environmentalists and extreme legislators who have jumped on that bandwagon," he said. Senate president Colleen Hanabusa (D-Nanakuli, Makaha) says a task force is looking into Hawaii's environmental laws to see if they need to be updated. "And let us be clear: the legal challenge was on Kahului only," she said. "So technically the Superferry could operate from Oahu to Kauai, from Oahu to the Big Island." Sen. Hemmings says bringing the Superferry back is important for Hawaii's international reputation. "People came up to me, legislators from around the country, leaders, and they were shaking their heads," he said. "They can't believe Hawaii would turn a ferry away. You're an island state; you don't have a ferry? What are you guys thinking out there?" The senate president thinks the Alakai would come back if the financial incentives are still there. "I think when it becomes lucrative for the Superferry, like any other business, they will be back," she said. "And I'd like to think they would be back, too." Senate president Hanabusa also says there's another fix for the Superferry to come back. They could swap out the Alakai for the other catamaran that was recently built. It has a built in ramp on the boat, which means, like Matson or Young Brothers, it would not need to go through an environmental review process because it does not use harbor improvements. image above: The navy's littoral combat ship (LCS) Independence at Austal dock in Alabama Good news for Mobile's Austal USA By Kaija Wilkenson on 7 April 2009 in the Mobile Press-Register http://www.al.com/press-register/stories/index.ssf?/base/news/1239095753243650.xml&coll=3 Defense Secretary Robert Gates' recommendation Monday that the Navy buy three, not two, littoral combat ships in fiscal 2010 is good news for a program that at least initially struggled with cost overruns. The news came on a day when Gates delayed or canceled a series of other high-profile defense programs. "Gates rejiggered a lot of programs but he didn't mess with the LCS," said Jay Korman, an analyst with Washington, D.C.-based Avascent Group. "I've got to think that both teams have done a good job in controlling cost." Mobile's Austal USA is part of a General Dynamics Corp. team building a version of the LCS, a shallow-water warship. Both General Dynamics and its rival, Lockheed Martin Corp., built a vessel under deals that allowed contractors to recoup their costs, plus an agreed-upon profit. Gates also said Monday he wants to charter two additional Joint High Speed Vessels, which are used for transporting troops and equipment. Gates' recommendations "affirm the Navy's position regarding both the LCS and JHSV programs," said Joe Rella, Austal's president and chief operating officer. "Austal, the city, and the state will all benefit from the continuance and growth associated with this plan." Both versions of the LCS, built to different designs, ended up with a price tag of over a half-billion dollars, against a $220 million estimate. Last fall, the Navy asked the teams to submit fixed-price bids for five vessels, and Lockheed has since gotten a second contract. The Navy has said it plans to award General Dynamics its second ship by Sept. 30. The Navy last fall announced plans to buy two vessels from one team and a third from the other in fiscal 2010, which begins Oct. 1. The service has not said which contractor will get the third ship. Gates said Monday the Pentagon eventually will buy up to 55 LCS. Austal has been ramping up employment in anticipation of the work, and is adding a $170 million assembly-line style facility in an effort to cut per-vessel costs. The shipyard employs 1,000 people and has said jobs could more than double if Austal is awarded three LCS in the next two years. Austal in November was awarded a potential $1.6 billion contract to build up to 10 of the Joint High Speed Vessels, but the first is not scheduled for delivery until 2011. That could mean a new mission for two commercial ferries, both built at Austal USA, that are out of work after Hawaii Superferry Inc. canceled its inter-island service last month. Industry analyst Tim Colton said the military is a natural fit for the ferries, now adorned with colorful swimming manta rays. "Any day now, they'll be painted gray," Colton said.

1 comment :

Mauibrad said...

"Any day now, they'll be painted GRAY," making money from the military instead of losing money commercially here in Hawaii, so no need to permanently change the EIS laws for all EA's before the UH study is even done on Chapter 343.

Hanabusa, Hemmings, Slom, and the former Atty General's BAD JUDGEMENT should remain a MINORITY view.

NO late night backroom deals in Conference Committee amended to some unrelated bill without proper hearings and testimony on this!

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