The State Department of Transportation has requested an exemption from the regular procurement process in order to award a $1 million contract to Belt Collins to conduct an environmental assessment of the Superferry as ordered by the Supreme Court. The cost is estimated at $1 million over a one year period with an option to extend if a full environmental impact statement is called for. One worrying aspect is that the description offered is still limited to “the impact of ferry operation at the harbor and whether the use of the state facility will necessitate furtehr study and mitigation measures.” The study is to include Kahului, Kawaihae, Honolulu, and Nawiliwili harbors.
I was thinking this through over the weekend, and just can’t believe that anyone looking to launch a service that will cost more than $200 million to get off the ground would not have done their own environmental assessment as part of their due diligence so as not to be suprised somewhere farther down the line. So why would they refuse to go ahead with a formal EA when all these agencies, from the Maritime Administration and the PUC to the state’s Environmental Council, not to mention the county councils and a good slice of the public, all pointed to the need for environmental compliance?
Even if they thought the project should be exempt, why would you risk that investment on that somewhat shaky premise?
Then there were hints over the past couple of weeks that the ferries could be put into service elsewhere if they can’t operate here. I wonder where that “elsewhere” is? Then I have to wonder, although this is more of a long shot, whether Hawaii was simply the political cover for obtaining the huge federal guarantees. Since the Maritime Administration has said several times that they have not put in budget requests for loan guarantees for a number of years, these funds must have come through a congressional earmark. So which member of Congress was behind the Superferry earmark?
The Advertiser reported last week that it wasn’t Senator Inouye.
U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawai’i, who has been supportive of the loan-guarantee program in the past, did not take a position on the loan guarantees for Superferry and urged the Maritime Administration to follow its criteria, according to his staff.
Could it have been handed off to his close friend, Senator Stevens? I don’t know where this bit of info would fit into the Superferry puzzle, but it would be interesting to find out.
And if you don’t have plans for tonight, you might find the meeting of “electronic pizza” up your alley.
Presentation by: Melissa McFerrin
Manager Community Relations, Hawaii Superferry
Everything you wanted to know about the Superferry, including the latest flap.
Tonight get first hand, not only the technical facts and figures about the Superferry, but the inside scoop of the controversy that has the Superferry in court and being blocked by surfers from docking on the Big Island.
Find out the “Why and How” of the opportunity the Hawaii Superferry represents for our Islands.
Melissa has been a member of the Hawaii Superferry team since 2005 when she was with Starr Seigle, where she was part of the team engaged in the development of the Hawaii Superferry brand identity and vessel design.
Sign up and receive free parking by sending an email with your full name and phone number, before noon on Tuesday, to Courtney Brown ( Cyberpizza@gmail.com)
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Doors open at 5:45pm Program begins at 6:00pm
Marine Science Auditorium, room 114, UH Manoa Campus
$8 per person for pizza & drinks.
Click here for the full email announcement.
Day 1 of the Advertiser’s new Hawaii’s Business Today section yesterday was certainly a disappointment. In my view, it looked busy and lacked substance.
Here’s an opinion from a reader and former newspaper editor:
The new Advertising tabloid business section is so blah. There is no news in it, except the thrilling development that the new publisher has promoted Platte from vice president/news to senior vice president/news. I’m so old that I can remember that the highest title in the news section was editor, without any other title.
I guess this means PBN will easily withstand yet another round of competition from the big guys.