Posted by: loomisisc | May 21, 2010

Three Good Signs

In today’s news there are several reports that suggest that Hawaii’s economy is turning, and that enthusiasm for the rail project is riding that wave. Three items stand out and show that Honolulu is ready for rail.

GET Revenue On Track

Issued in a press release last night, Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced that the Honolulu Rail Transit Project has received 99.6 percent of its expected revenue from the General Excise and Use Tax (GET) surcharge for rail transit.

The first rail contract awarded to Kiewit Pacific saved $90 million in expected construction costs. “We could realize additional savings on three major rail contracts that will be awarded later this year,” said Mayor Hannemann. He also called the GET revenue “an encouraging sign for the rail project” and “an early indication that Honolulu’s economy is getting stronger.”

Reduction in Jobless Claims

Another good sign for Hawaii’s economy is from statistics released today in a Pacific Business News report, “Hawaii’s jobless claims plunged 19.5 percent for the week ending May 15, compared to the same week a year ago. Oahu’s initial claims plummeted 16.4 percent to 1,115 last week from 1,333 in 2009.”

With the rail project soon to break ground, there is real hope that this figure will plunge even further next year. The construction of the project is expected to bring thousands of jobs to Oahu in the first year alone and is something the community greatly awaits.

Community Support for Rail

The Honolulu Advertiser’s Editorial in today’s paper, (Reviewing rail, jamming up the mayor) was critical of Gov. Linda Lingle’s intent to hold further public hearings:

“Even someone who gives her credit for doing her due diligence before signing off on the project has got to wonder about this move. Contrary to complaints by some, there have been many opportunities for public comment already.”

And adding further,

“From the results of the 2008 election, and from every credible poll we’ve seen, the community still supports rail.”

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