Critics won’t push transit plan off track
Critics of the city's proposed rail system have maintained in a challenge with a federal agency that city officials lied about it.
OPPONENTS of the city's proposed rail system have taken their criticism to the Federal Transit Administration
, having lost their case in the local political arena. Their complaints can be expected to continue but should not deter progress toward building the city's largest public works project.
The agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation funnels federal dollars into construction of people-mover systems throughout the country and should regard the complaint as political. Mayor Mufi Hannemann and the City Council have approved the plan and the state's congressional delegation is arranging for federal assistance. This project is on track and isn't about to stop.
As the Council's final decision was nearing last year, critics proposed the option of a reversible tollway that they maintained would be cheaper and effective. They cited a 10-mile stretch that opened last year between downtown Tampa, Fla., and a suburban area. The Tampa tollway is open only during rush hour, receives little use and is costing more than was expected.
In filing a formal complaint with the transit agency, the critics submitted a list of "21 lies," derived from the dissection of statements made by City Councilman Gary Okino and city Transportation Director Toru Hamayasu in a recent discussion on public television.
A draft environmental impact statement on the system, projected to cost at least $4 billion, is due in June. At that point, the Council will decide on the technology to be used, and the city will begin working on the final environmental statement.
Groundbreaking is scheduled in 2009 and the first 10-mile stretch could be working in 2012. After more than two decades of debate, the project should not be impeded by people accusing its proponents of lying.
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