Sunday, January 25, 2009


More corporate welfare to the Superferry

by Larry Geller

More expenses than were covered in Christie Wilson’s article today are coming up. This list, circulated by Dick Mayer and reproduced here with his permission, has additional items.

The following are additional and real expenditures:

  • The State's interest payments of about $2,000,000/year on the $40,000,000 state issued general obligation reimbursable bonds.
  • At least twelve (12) legislatively mandated DOT funded meetings to receive input that an environmental review would have evaluated.
  • The Superferry's need for Kahului wharf space forced the State to buy the land where Kahului Railroad building is located  (to  relocate Young Bros. operations at Kahului Harbor & to handle less-than-container load shipments.
  • The legislature's costs to pass several bills that would over-ride the DOT's mistaken exemption of the needed Environmental Review.
  • Office of Environmental Quality Control's had to conduct a special meeting of the Environmental Council to review the DOT exemption decision.
  • The administration’s expensive+extensive efforts to defeat citizen lawsuits and appeals. (The expenses include the Attorney General's efforts in lower courts and the State Supreme Court.  Also, the court ordered the State to pay even for the citizen's court costs.)
  • The Governor's costly Special Legislative Session in October, 2007 to pass Act 2, giving the Hawaii Superferry a special exemption from our environmental law.
  • The damage to our environment resulting from the diversion of State Dept. of Ag. inspectors to the harbors, instead of being utilized to eradicate existing alien species.
  • A similar diversion of State DLNR staff from their normal duties.

Dick forwarded another letter to me that mentions County expenses for enforcement and legal fees, and which mentioned that some of the expenses for Kauai could have been avoided had the Superferry said earlier that it would be giving up on that route.

If someone put all this together and added in whatever amounts the governor was supposed to report, I think we will have a glaring example of corporate welfare on a grand scale. Should the ferry continue to operate at a loss, we may find our “investment” comes to nothing should it decide to ply more profitable waters.



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