Re-Enacting the Superferry

SUBHEAD: The legislation will require the HI DOT to conduct a study on the feasibility of establishing a statewide ferry system. Again.

By Brad Parsons on 22 February 2010 for Island Breath - 

Image above: Up the ramp of the Superferry - to what? Photo by Jonathan Jay during practice run to Kauai 8/19/07.

Testimony taken at 

If you testify add in the subject header "Testimony for FIN 2/23/2010 4:30:00 PM HB2667". The following is my testimony on the issue:
Commenting on the revised text of this bill HB 2667:
"While the Hawaii Superferry operation had its shortcomings, rocky start, and questionable financial forecast, it proved to be a very successful mode of transportation of both persons and property between the islands of Maui and Oahu."
Actually, it did not. The financial failings were because of the amount of fuel consumed by these particular vessels, the distances involved, and low ridership partly due to conditions. These were intrinsic to it's failure.
"The purpose of this Act is to require the department of transportation to conduct a study on the feasibility of establishing a statewide ferry system..."

Interesting that this bill as a fallback was turned into a study that's already been done, not once, but twice before. Enterprise Honolulu did a study on the ferry for the Legislature in 2004/2005 and Market Scope Inc. also did a more comprehensive study presented to the PUC. As written, this bill would task the State Department of Transportation (DOT) with doing this study.

That's a DOT that has shown itself to be biased and unobjective on even basic logistical matters of a prospective ferry, such as passenger-only, cargo, size, speed, and propulsion. Should newfound objectivity on this matter be expected from DOT-Harbors? Further, the hastily substituted current version of this bill does not indicate how much money is to be wasted on this study, a matter the Finance Committee no doubt should take strong note of. 
An undeniably realistic conclusion expected from the repetitive study envisioned by this bill would be *subsidizing* a state run ferry service, most likely at a *loss*, to compete with a number of private sector companies by water and air. Not an outcome any better than the present. 
Now, when there's not enough money for keiki here to have 5 decent, full days of school a week, you are being asked to spend more money on a study that has effectively been done, not once, but twice before? 
We recommend responsibly deferring or outright killing this bill and leaving the private sector to do a ferry or not based on studies and experience that are already out there. The State of Hawaii should not waste any more money on this. .


Juan Wilson said...

My comment on HB2667

The economics of a fossil fueled large high speed ferry between Hawaiian islands does not make sense. Either diesel prices will be too high or people won't have the money to travel. As for freight, a slower barge makes more sense.

The environmental risks of running a 800 passenger vessel at highway speeds in the dark is ridiculous. Already there was a whale strike in daylight that was covered-up.

We do not need the bankrupt state government to go deeper in hock on a stupid idea that was tied and failed.

Besides, it will never have access to Kauai. Count on that.

Juan Wilson

Mauibrad said...

HB 2667 Ferry Bill effective date was changed to July 1, 2020, and the Chair/Oshiro recommended passage from the committee. Rep Wooley was the only one who spoke up with a question. She asked about no dollar figure attached to this bill. Oshiro said they could deal with that and the date when it "comes back to them." They voted - one with reservations, the rest passing it on.

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