A late-rising thin sliver of white illuminated the dark whole of the moon in an eastern sky smudged coral-pink in anticipation of dawn when Koko and I went walking this morning.
We were headed toward clear-toppd Wailaleale, which was destined to flush lavender when the sun rose. I kept turning around to watch the smoldering color spread across the sky. Koko, however, kept turning around to watch for my neighbor Andy, whose pocket magically dispenses treats.
It’s not unlike the relationship between Hawaii Superferry and some members of the state House — most notably Joe Souki and Calvin Say — who have introduced a bill that would create a special fund to establish a state-subsidized ferry system using the Alakai and Huakai.
The bill directs the Ferry Authority to seek federal funding assistance and seek to buy or lease the two fast ferries, or other suitable vessels, so long as they can carry at least 400 passengers and travel at speeds of 30 knots or more, which really narrows the market.
HB 2667, which the House Transportation Committee approved on Monday, goes on to give the Authority full access to all waters of the state and “access on a priority basis into all harbors and small boat facilities operated by the department [of Transportation] and the department of land and natural resources for discharging and receiving of passengers and property, wharfage, mooring, terminal, and other support facilities” and says it shall, “to the extent practicable,” use the Hawaii super ferry’s terminal facilities, ramps, moorage facilities, and equipment.
Georgina Kawamura, director of the state Department of Budget and Finance, testified that any diversion from the General Fund “cannot be considered at this time” and noted:
It is unclear if the Hawaii State Ferry System special fund would be financially self-sustaining.
Yes, that was always the big question about Hawaii Superferry, too — not to mention all those other environmental issues.
Meanwhile, the two ferries may return to Hawaii, anyway, as the Joint High Speed Vessels they were designed and intended to be. But under this scenario, they would be subsidized by the feds, instead of the state. The Army is now preparing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to explore the potential impacts associated with stationing JHSVs at various ports, including Pearl Harbor.
And it does appear there will be some. According to the notice:
The JHSV will require fueling-at-sea training; aviation training (helicopter); live fire training; and high-speed, openwater-craft training.