Bill to Subsidize Superferry

SOURCE: Lanny Sinkin ( SUBHEAD: Hawaii legislature would subsidize Superferry service on backs of taxpayers. Image above: Hawaii Superferry mash-up found at From ( By Lanny Sinkin on 9 February 2010 - The State Legislature is being asked to fund the return of Superferry as a state subsidized service. KITV is hosting a poll on public sentiment. Cast your vote. Share this message with friends. Apparently the Legislature is being asked to engage in selective amnesia and forget that Judge Cardoza held a hearing and ruled that operation of the Superferry would cause irreparable environmental damage. The threat to the Whales, the likelihood of transporting invasive species, and all the other harms identified should have ruled out this particular form of interisland transportation. Lawmakers Consider Interisland Ferry Revival By Staff on 8 February 2010 in - ( State lawmakers on Monday advanced a bill to consider restoring high-speed ferry service between the islands and having state taxpayers foot the bill. The House Transportation Committee looked at establishing a Hawaii State Ferry System and creating a special fund to buy or lease at least one high-speed ferry to start an interisland ferry system. The bill suggests buying or leasing the Alakai and Huakai, the former Hawaii Superferry vessels, or buying another similar high-speed ferry. Maui's Rep. Joe Souki authored the bill. A number of Maui residents protested against the Superferry traveling to the Valley Isle. "I do believe in a ferry system, and I think we do nee one as an island-bound state," Souki said. Former Superferry passenger Bob Liljestrand is among those who yearn for a return of the ferry. "It simply doesn't make sense the only way we can travel interisland is by plane," Liljestrand said. The state was left holding the bag for millions of dollars after the Superferry declared bankruptcy in March and left. The state said it has a lot of information from the Superferry experience that could help with the start up of another ferry operation. It is a challenge, the state said, but still worth exploring. "We definitely need some sort of surface transportation between the islands," Department of Transportation Deputy Director Mike Formby said. The Superferry vessels may no longer be available. Formby said the Army is preparing an environmental study on bringing ferry vessels to Hawaii to transport soldiers. "We just know they are looking at the possible positioning of one or more vessels at Pearl Harbor," Formby said. Not everyone at the hearing on Monday was eager for ferry service. Competitor Young Brothers wanted assurances. "That any competition under the act would be done in a fair way," said Roy Catalani, of Young Brothers. Another competitor warned high-speed ferries endanger whales. "I am stating categorically Hawaii is not the right place for that type of vessel," said David Jung, of Sealink. The committee asked the Transportation Department to report back in a year with a study on the feasibility of a state-run ferry system. The transportation department says it would take at least another two or three years to get such a service going. See also: Ea O Ka Aina: Superferry Rising from the Dead? 2/8/10 Ea O Ka Aina: Army intends 3 JHSV for Hawaii 2/9/10 .

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