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Thursday, October 17, 2013
Rail: Judge Tashima Must Rule on Beretania Street Tunnel
By Honolulu Traffic @ 3:00 PM :: 4679 Views :: Rail

Where we stand today, October 17, 2013:

From HonoluluTraffic

In our federal case, Honolulutraffic.com et al. versus the City/FTA, Judge Tashima found the City/FTA in violation of the law in three counts, with most of the rulings not in our favor. 

Judge Tashima still has to rule on whether the Beretania Street Tunnel is a viable alternative. The City has made their case in the recently filed Final Supplemental EIS. This contains our Hawaii Federal Court Judges' highly negative comments together with the City's response.

We requested an expedited hearing from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in order that we could have a decision before the City could begin construction in September. The Federal Transit Administration had already filed an objection to the appeal. The Court found for us and dismissed the FTA's objections all less than two weeks from the filing of our request.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also specified that we would have to file our formal appeal by May 15, 2013, which we did. Our hearing was held on August 15 and we now await a ruling from the three-judge panel, which could come anytime from now up to a couple of months from now.

HART finishes the Final Supplemental EIS ordered by the court:

The FSEIS was released on September 30th and we have 30 days to respond to it. Assumedly, thereafter it goes to Judge Tashima for his ruling.

HART's comments on the release were, in part,

"A Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Section 4(f) Evaluation was produced, which was approved in September by the FTA. The report concluded that the Beretania Tunnel option would be far more expensive, take two years longer to build, and not move any more riders than the current rail route. The Final SEIS also concluded that the project would not create any impermissible use of Mother Waldron Park. In addition, HART completed the final section of the TCP report, and no previously unidentified TCPs were found in the City Center portion of the route."

For our part, we have difficulty with HART's statements that, "... the Beretania Street Tunnel Alternative is located in an area with a lower potential to encounter archaeological resources and burials than the [current] Project [route] ..." and that, "HART has modified the design of the Project to avoid all the previously identified human remains in phase 4." Note that it only avoids the "previously identified human remains," not all those of the many it is certain to find.

The quotes above are from pages 60-61 of the Final SEIS. The comments made by concerned citizens, together with the official responses, are in the Appendices under Appendix A.

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