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Date Posted: 00:19:25 02/01/08 Fri
Author: Bob O. Link
Subject: THE HAWAII SUPERFERRY SUPERFIASCO!
SUPERFERRY, IN CONTEXT II
A behind-the-scenes look at state government and politics from Capitol Bureau reporters Derrick DePledge and Treena Shapiro. Share insider tips or ideas with the bureau at 525-8070 or via e-mail.
Reach Derrick at firstname.lastname@example.org and Treena at email@example.com.
Posted on: January 31, 2008 at 1:00:00 am
Superferry, in context II
The latest batch of documents on Hawaii Superferry, released by the Lingle administration under the state's open-records law, continues to provide interesting background information on how the decision was made to exempt the project from an environmental review.
Here’s what The Advertiser reported last September:
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration approved $140 million in loan guarantees for Superferry in January 2005 on the condition that the state give all governmental and environmental clearances, including confirmation that there was no need for an environmental assessment of port facilities.
The state was aware of this condition when it ruled in February 2005 that $40 million in state harbor improvements for the Superferry project were minor and exempt from an environmental assessment.
"They pointed out that this was the condition that they were faced with," Barry Fukunaga, the director of the state Department of Transportation, said of Superferry executives. "But we didn't use that as the basis for our argument."
Fukunaga, who was the department's deputy director of harbors at the time, said he knew of the conditions of the federal loan guarantees before the department's ruling but did not feel pressure to grant the Superferry exemption.
"We knew about that but it didn't really effect our outcome," Fukunaga said.
Fukunaga officially made the decision to exempt Superferry from environmental review on Feb. 23, 2005. The exemption letters -- one for each harbor -- made no mention of the need to meet federal loan guarantee or equity investment requirements.
That same day, however, Fukunaga sent out letters to other harbor users who had an interest in the project.
Here’s how Fukunaga's letter to Gary North, of Matson Navigation, began:
Dear Mr. North:
The Harbors Division continues to work with the Hawaii Superferry on the establishment of operating sites at each of the harbors identified for service by the new operation.
The Superferry financial arrangement with the U.S. Maritime Administration and their equity investors requires assurance of available facilities for their operation in time to meet their scheduled commencement date as well as confirmation by June 30, 2005 that facilities identified are available and not subject to conditions that would require environmental review.
This situation limits accommodation to the use of existing facilities and their use in a manner that is consistent with both the design and purpose that they were built....
Comment from: Aw come on.. [Visitor]
Sure thing. But not the point!
You can bet that they knew about the financing but that didn't affect their outcome, because the fix was already in!
01/31/08 @ 04:19
Comment from: Kaleki [Visitor]
Whatever! Of course they'll have a ready answer. Big dreams with lots of fluff, ill-prepared, per usual in this administration. And this dude is now the Chief of Staff... awesome (sniff, sniff...can you smell that?)
01/31/08 @ 06:41
Comment from: myview [Visitor]
Again, fukunaga caught in a lie. This guy is a compulsive liar like his good friend garibaldi. fukunaga must be really stupid, making false statements that could easily be found false. I believe his "promotion" to chief of staff, was really a demotion, as they wanted to keep him on as long as possible to reward him for being the fall guy.
What would be really interesting is what role did bennett play in this fiasco. He is hiding behind the attorney-client privilege to conceal his involvement. And lingle warned that the media maybe making false interpretations because they do not have all the facts. This is another moronic statement - if they can rebut the media's allegations, when don't they. If they have information, they can waive the attorney-client priviige, especially if the info will absolve any one in the administration.
fukunaga was willing to use deception to help the SF. This amounts to a criminal act, using false "facts" to evade the provisions of HRS 243. fukunaga is attempting to paint the picture that he alone was responsible for the exemption. This is far from the truth, there were many others who assisted in the plan of deception, including garibaldi and his attorneys.
01/31/08 @ 20:30
Comment from: Bob O. Link [Visitor] ·
Naturally, with all the politician-greasing SUPERPLAYERS involved (including Steve Case, John Garibaldi, et al), this will eventually turn out to be ONE BIG HAWAII SUPERFIASCO for Hawaii Taxpayers!
IT'S SUPERBOWL TIME!
Bob O. Link
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