DOT Calls for Higher Level of Transparency For Proposed Rail Transit Project

March 25, 2010, 2:05 PM HST · Updated March 26, 2:46 PM
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Image courtesy: http://www.honolulutransit.org/

In an attempt to increase transparency for the planned Honolulu Rail Transit project, the state Department of Transportation yesterday launched a website and released archived correspondence on the project.  The proposed rail transit route through Honolulu International Airport has received increased attention in the past few weeks as one of the issues holding up the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. DOT Director Brennon Morioka disputed the claims saying the public deserves to know all of the facts. Included in the information are documents from 2006, identifying potential runway impacts near Lagoon Drive.

The DOT rail link website is located at the following URL: hawaii.gov/dot/railtransit.

“There is a lot of misinformation out there about the Honolulu Rail Transit project and the public deserves to know all the facts,” said Brennon Morioka, DOT Director.  “The correspondence we are posting online dates back to 2006 and exemplifies the State’s collaboration and support with the City and County of Honolulu. At the same time, the documents demonstrate the prudence and due diligence the State has exercised in ensuring that the single largest and most expensive public works project in Hawai‘i’s history is one that is in the best long-term interest of all residents,” Morioka added.

The DOT’s primary role in the rail transit project is to support and assist the City and County of Honolulu in its efforts to bring alternative modes of transportation to O‘ahu.  Since most of the rail transit project will run within DOT’s highway and airport properties, Morioka said partnership and sharing of information is vital to the project’s success.

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“We have spent a good amount of time communicating with the City about the concerns regarding impacts to airport operations,” explained Morioka.  “We believe that we have been open and honest partners in working together with City, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) officials to ensure the rail facility complies with all State and Federal requirements and that the final EIS product is a defendable document that would stand up to legal scrutiny.”

Following the most recent March 17, 2010 meeting between City, State and Federal officials, each party involved mutually agreed that further engineering analysis would be necessary on specific technical issues before the route can be approved both federally and by the state.  No timeline on resolution of these matters was decided upon but all parties agreed to continue work toward a resolution.

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