GARY T. KUBOTA / GKUBOTA@STARBULLETIN.COM
More than 20 people held a protest yesterday along Kaahumanu Avenue in Central Maui to show their opposition to plans for the Hawaii Superferry at Kahului Harbor.
Maui demonstrators protest plans for ferry
WAILUKU » More than 20 people held a demonstration yesterday in Central Maui to protest a plan to operate a Hawaii Superferry at Kahului Harbor.
The "Freight First" rally was to bring attention to a series of public meetings this week allowing people to testify before the state about the proposed Superferry.
The meetings were required by the state Legislature prior to Gov. Linda Lingle's administration releasing some of the $40 million for harbor improvements for the Superferry.
Environmentalists, including members of the Sierra Club, want Lingle to delay the ferry operation until its environmental impact can be assessed, including the potential for invasive species entering the Valley Isle.
Some small businesses on Maui and Molokai are also worried about the impact of freight rates and services for shipping their products.
The interisland barge carrier Young Brothers says it will not be accepting less than a container-load of freight from businesses, in light of dock space being taken away from it due to the Superferry.
Young Brothers has advised small businesses that they need to go to freight consolidators if they have less than a container-load.
The Hawaii Superferry, able to carry vehicles and passengers, is scheduled to begin serving Maui and Kauai in 2007, and at Kawaihae on the Big Island by 2008.