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Old April 28th, 2015, 12:04 AM   #301
Maksima
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Quote:
Curt Sanburn: Rail Project Still has Other Options
A reporter looks back a few years to an article called “Railroaded” and the critical differences between heavy rail and light rail technologies.

APRIL 27, 2015
By CURT SANBURN

“We have responsibilities that require us to ensure that public funds — regardless of their source — are expended wisely and to safeguard our constituents from tax burdens that otherwise could be avoided through good governance.”

Thus did Honolulu City Council members Duke Bainum and Charles Djou begin a 10-page letter they signed and sent off to the federal Department of Transportation in June 2009. The letter was an appeal to the feds to intervene in the Mayor Mufi Hannemann administration’s perceived “rush” to lock in its Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor (HHCTC) project, designed as an all-elevated, heavy-rail commuter train running from an empty field two miles east of downtown Kapolei to Ala Moana Shopping Center. The letter charged that the project had been adopted by the city with no serious consideration of less costly and less intrusive rail-transit alternatives.

Copyright 2015 Civil Beat. All rights reserved.
Read article here: http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/04/cur...other-options/
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Old April 28th, 2015, 03:23 AM   #302
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The civil beat is so anti rail it makes it hard to read. They are classic example of modern day "muckrakers" except they hardly do thorough investigative journalism. I'm surprised with how many anti rail articles they have on their site that only 1 or 2 articles even mentions the FFGA. All these people talking about making changes to rail as if they were experts yet any changes would void the FFGA and require a new EIS. It would also require the city to pay back the federal funds and would expose the city to multiple lawsuits.

Its funny how people out think Oahu will never change and grow larger in population. If building more freeways and adding more lanes would help traffic then why does LA and Houston have such terrible congestion despite all the additions in capacity.
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Old April 28th, 2015, 03:44 AM   #303
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floor23 View Post
The civil beat is so anti rail it makes it hard to read. They are classic example of modern day "muckrakers" except they hardly do thorough investigative journalism. I'm surprised with how many anti rail articles they have on their site that only 1 or 2 articles even mentions the FFGA. All these people talking about making changes to rail as if they were experts yet any changes would void the FFGA and require a new EIS. It would also require the city to pay back the federal funds and would expose the city to multiple lawsuits.

Its funny how people out think Oahu will never change and grow larger in population. If building more freeways and adding more lanes would help traffic then why does LA and Houston have such terrible congestion despite all the additions in capacity.
Whoa... That is so anti car.

I would love to be able to take a train around all the islands.

What is being done now is a great start to a great network.

Look at cities like Boston, LA, NY and Chicago, does any of them regret building their systems?
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Old April 28th, 2015, 04:11 AM   #304
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I don't know what to do about star-advertiser articles. Should I post snippets even if its under subscription or should I just not post them at all?
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Originally Posted by floor23 View Post
All these people talking about making changes to rail as if they were experts yet any changes would void the FFGA and require a new EIS. It would also require the city to pay back the federal funds and would expose the city to multiple lawsuits.
Yeah this always bothers me every time when people around here talk about it. It also bothers me when others just want it to stop altogether.

Last edited by Maksima; April 28th, 2015 at 04:17 AM.
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Old April 29th, 2015, 01:15 PM   #305
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Quote:
Rail to temporarily shut down shopping center entrance
Westbound left turn lane into Pearl Kai to close for 6 months


By Ann Sterling
UPDATED 7:24 PM HST Apr 27, 2015

HONOLULU —Rallying against rail. Tenants at Pearl Kai Shopping Center have a gripe after the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation informed them it plans to close a westbound left turn lane on Kamehameha Highway that leads right into the shopping center.

"That is the main entrance to the shopping center. It's the only entrance to the center if you're going westbound," said David Passmore from Suntime Indoor Tanning.

Passmore is just one small business owner speaking up. His shop has been at Pearl Kai for nearly two decades.

"It's going to kill us," said Passmore. "I've been here for 18 years. It's a vital intersection and I think it will kill it."

Copyright 2015 KITV4. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://www.kitv.com/news/rail-to-tem...rance/32607772

Quote:
Pearl Kai merchants dread rail closure

Posted: Apr 27, 2015 1:04 PM HST
Updated: Apr 27, 2015 3:30 PM HST
By Jim Mendoza

PEARL CITY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Powerhouse Gym has 4,000 members. Owner Dave Leong estimates a third of them -- and one-third of Pearl Kai Shopping Center's customers -- make the left turn at Kamehameha Highway and Pali Momi Street to enter the mall.

"That's the only left-hand turn going west into this shopping complex," he said.

Pearl Kai merchants were livid when they learned rail work would permanently remove the left turn. On Monday, HART told them the closure will instead be temporary, for six months. Leong still expects a significant impact.

Copyright 2015 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/2...d-rail-closure
Quote:
Pearl Kai businesses concerned about rail construction


By Kristine Uyeno
Published: April 27, 2015, 6:39 am
Updated: April 27, 2015, 8:14 pm

Tenants at Pearl Kai Shopping Center are worried that plans to close a left-turn lane into the mall will affect their bottom line.

Early next year, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation plans to close the ewa-bound, left-turn lane from Kamehameha Highway.

It would be a temporary closure, but more than 50 businesses at the shopping center oppose the move. They’re already feeling the effects of the ongoing rail work.

“It’s totally decreased,” said David Passmore of Suntime Indoor Tanning. “I would say a good 20 percent right now.”

When HART plans to close access into the shopping center, those businesses fear the worst.

Copyright 2015 KHON2. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://khon2.com/2015/04/27/pearl-ka...-construction/
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Old April 29th, 2015, 01:19 PM   #306
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Quote:
Roads for Rail? Hawaii Senators Pitch New Tax Idea
A new proposal comes out of House and Senate conference committee negotiations, but it highlights just how far apart they are on rail tax.

APRIL 27, 2015
By NICK GRUBE

So-called “roads in limbo” are the latest bargaining chip in the negotiations to extend Honolulu’s rail tax to help shore up an estimated $910 million shortfall.

On Monday, state Sen. Jill Tokuda revealed her chamber’s latest version of House Bill 134 that would extend Oahu’s 0.5 percent General Excise Tax surcharge for rail for five years from 2022 to 2027 and allow neighboring counties to implement their own tax hike.

But Tokuda and her fellow conference committee members, including Sens. Clarence Nishihara, Will Espero and Breene Harimoto, included a provision that would force counties to take ownership of certain roads that officials say are no longer under the state’s authority.

These “roads in limbo” have been a problem for the state for many decades, and have led to confusion about who is responsible for repair and maintenance of the streets.

Copyright 2015 Civil Beat. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/04/roa...-new-tax-idea/
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Old April 29th, 2015, 01:30 PM   #307
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Quote:
ZipMobile Trouble Illustrates the Need for Rail
Unless we are to have double-decker highways, endless road construction or big development on Windward Oahu, rail is the only option to address our transit needs.

APRIL 28, 2015
By KARL RHOADS AND BREENE HARIMOTO

A great deal of ink has been spilled over the March 31 traffic fiasco on the H-1 freeway. While most of the discussion has focused on a postmortem of how things went wrong, the focus on the ZipMobile obscures the fundamental problem: The H-1 is at capacity.

“Carmageddon” provides a clear illustration of the fragility of the cross-island transit corridor. Traffic is already painfully slow on an average day. All it takes is one bad break, be it an accident or something unusual like a ZipMobile malfunction, to transform a lethargic, 20-mile commute into a six-hour nightmare.

What has hardly been mentioned in the mainstream press is that rail is being built precisely to address the need for additional transportation capacity in the already busy and soon to be overwhelmed H-1 commuting corridor. Ten years ago when the latest effort to build a rail system on Oahu began, the traffic handwriting was already on the wall. Rail was then and is now the best way to address Oahu’s transportation needs.

Copyright 2015 Civil Beat. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/04/zip...need-for-rail/
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Old May 1st, 2015, 07:08 AM   #308
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Quote:
Study compares cost of rail surcharge to property taxes


UPDATED 7:14 PM HST Apr 29, 2015
By Andrew Pereira

HONOLULU —The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has released a study that compares an increase in property taxes to an extension of the rail tax to make the controversial rail project financially whole.

The analysis comes as lawmakers in the state House and Senate debate a bill (HB 134) that could extend Oahu’s half-percent surcharge to the state’s general excise tax five to 25 years. Right now, the project faces cost overruns and budget shortfalls totaling $910 million.

“I think some tough decisions need to be made and I respect the state Legislature as they're going through their process,” said City Council Chairman Ernie Martin. “I think the biggest fear that all of us are worried about is that the cost overruns will escalate even further.”

Copyright 2015 KITV4. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://www.kitv.com/news/Study-compa...taxes/32654494
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Old May 1st, 2015, 07:48 AM   #309
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Quote:
After years of delays, work begins on traffic center
Posted: Apr 29, 2015 5:13 PM HST
Updated: Apr 29, 2015 5:24 PM HST
By Keoki Kerr

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Federal, state and city officials gathered Wednesday to break ground for a new joint traffic management center at the corner of Alapai and King Streets, where the project that was originally supposed to be completed in 2012 is now not predicted to be finished until 2017.

While the city began planning for the project in 2005, it's been delayed for as many as five years through several mayoral and gubernatorial administrations.

The federal government is providing $30.2 million of the $53.6 million to build the three-story center that will house six agencies to respond to routine and major traffic problems.

"This facility puts us all in the same room, on the same floor, looking at the same information. We collaborate, we talk and we make decisions together," said City Transportation Director Mike Formby.

Copyright 2015 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/2...traffic-center
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Old May 1st, 2015, 07:52 AM   #310
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This is going to be very interesting:
Quote:
Deal on Honolulu Rail Tax Remains Up in the Air
State lawmakers can't agree on how best to help the city shore up a $910 million shortfall using General Excise Tax dollars, and they only have until Friday to figure it out.

APRIL 29, 2015
By NICK GRUBE

A proposal to extend Honolulu’s 0.5 percent General Excise Tax surcharge to help pay for the city’s controversial $6 billion rail project looks like it’ll come down to the wire.

On Wednesday, House and Senate conference committee members met once again to strike a deal on a tax extension, which city officials say is needed to help fill in a nearly $1 billion shortfall.

But little appeared to have been accomplished since the last hearing that was held earlier in the week. Lawmakers scheduled to reconvene Friday at 1:45 p.m. to seek a compromise. They have until a 6 p.m. deadline to reach a deal.

Copyright 2015 Civil Beat. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/04/dea...up-in-the-air/\

Now for the waiting game
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Old May 1st, 2015, 09:38 AM   #311
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I wouldn't be surprised if they put it off until next year

Hopefully the legislature choose the Senate version over the House's. The house bill will only make the project more expensive and make building the line take even longer. Cutting the GET could potentially void the FFGA as well, due to changes being made in the financing of the project. The Senate bill might be kicking the can down the road but in 2027 when they debate over extending the GET again, I highly doubt anyone will care as much when the first line is fully constructed and operating.
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Old May 1st, 2015, 11:12 PM   #312
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More coal for the fire...
Quote:
Will lawmakers fix ‘unconstitutional’ skim off rail tax?


By Gina Mangieri
Published: April 30, 2015, 7:59 pm
Updated: May 1, 2015, 2:16 am

Every time you shell out rail tax on all your Oahu purchases, not all of that money goes to the transit project.

The state skims a fee off the top, and that has amounted to more than $163 million already. Where does it all go?

Though it’s called an administrative fee, you may be surprised what it’s spent on and how little is known about where it goes.

With the rail project in the red, some are asking, could all that cash be put to a different use?

A dime here, a dime there, and pretty soon you’ve got $163 million. That’s at least what the state’s administrative fee has tallied up to so far when they take 10 percent of whatever rail tax comes in each month.

By the tax’s sunset in 2022, it could top $373 million and more if lawmakers extend that sunset as the city has asked.

“Originally the thought was the 10 percent being collected from the half-percent that goes to the state would go to pay for the expense of the Department of Taxation to collect and distribute the money back to the city,” said Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, D-Wahiawa. “The amount we collect from that far exceeds the operational budget of the tax department.”

So all those millions left over go to the state’s general piggy bank to spend at will, becoming more of a general fund as opposed to strictly an administrative fee.

Copyright 2015 KHON2. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://khon2.com/2015/04/30/will-law...-off-rail-tax/
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Old May 2nd, 2015, 07:47 AM   #313
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Decision made, but not final yet...
Quote:
Rail tax extended with state’s lucrative ‘administrative fee’ intact


By Gina Mangieri
Published: May 1, 2015, 6:07 pm
Updated: May 1, 2015, 6:23 pm

Late Friday, state House and Senate negotiators agreed to extend the rail tax surcharge for another five years.

The tax had been set to expire in 2022. It will remain at a half-percent, and will add an extra $1.8 billion in revenue for the rail project, which is already nearly $1 billion over-budget.

The deal also allows the other counties to enact a half-percent tax for their transportation projects, starting in 2018.

The measure now goes to the full House and Senate for a final vote.

One thing that wasn’t in the bill that passed Friday: a change to the state’s share of the rail tax.

Copyright 2015 KHON2. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://khon2.com/2015/05/01/rail-tax...ve-fee-intact/

Last edited by Maksima; May 2nd, 2015 at 12:25 PM. Reason: added youtube video
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Old May 2nd, 2015, 12:24 PM   #314
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Coverage on decision
Quote:
Honolulu Rail Tax Lives Another Day, Heads For Floor Vote
A conference committee approves a five-year extension of the GET surcharge for rail, adding a provision that the state retains "air rights" for future development.

MAY 1, 2015
By NICK GRUBE

A joint panel of state senators and representatives agreed to terms Friday to extend Honolulu’s 0.5 percent General Excise Tax surcharge for rail another five years beyond its Dec. 31, 2022, sunset date.

The extension, if passed into law and approved by the Honolulu City Council, should generate enough money to complete the financially challenged, 20-mile commuter rail project from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center. The project is currently facing a nearly $1 billion shortfall due to high construction costs and a weaker-than-expected revenue stream.

House and Senate conference committee members amended House Bill 134 to give the state control over the “air rights” above the train stations and along the rail line. This could mean that any proposed advertising or development that occurs above the stations could be subject to state approval, and raise questions about who gets to keep the money.

Copyright 2015 Civil Beat. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/05/hon...or-floor-vote/

Quote:
Conferees agree to 5-year rail tax extension


UPDATED 8:04 PM HST May 01, 2015
By Andrew Pereira

HONOLULU —House and Senate lawmakers agreed to extend Oahu’s half-percent rail tax another five years less than two hours before a 6 p.m. deadline to decide bills in conference committee.

The tax increase is expected to generate another $1.8 billion for the controversial rail project, which faces cost overruns and budget shortfalls totaling $910 million.

“We do expect that this a sufficient amount of money to complete this project as planned, as well as give us sufficient contingency should the cost rise even a little bit higher than we think right now,” said Dan Grabauskas, executive director and CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, or HART.

Copyright 2015 KITV4. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://www.kitv.com/news/Conferees-a...nsion/32755646

Quote:
Rail tax extension advances out of conference committee

Posted: May 01, 2015 7:29 PM HST
Updated: May 01, 2015 7:49 PM HST
By Lisa Kubota

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
A conference committee finally reached a compromise on Friday to extend the General Excise Tax surcharge for Honolulu's rail project. House members wanted the surcharge cut in half to 0.25% and extended for 25 years starting in 2018. In the end, however, the committee passed the Senate version, extending the current 0.5% surcharge for five additional years through 2027.

Neighbor island counties would also be able to create their own surcharge for transportation purposes from 2018 to 2027. State lawmakers said the compromise included restrictions to make sure the city didn't waste the money.

"What we did in this draft was eliminate the use of GET for operations. It will only be fore construction. I think there has always been a concern that the city would use the GET for operation of rail," said Rep. Sylvia Luke, chair of the House Finance Committee.

Copyright 2015 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/2...ence-committee

----------------------
It will still needs to pass a session where both the House and Senate are together and by the city council. There also MIGHT be an issue about the states share of the tax and that someone might challenge it as being unconstitutional.

Last edited by Maksima; May 2nd, 2015 at 12:30 PM.
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Old May 2nd, 2015, 12:33 PM   #315
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Quote:
Woman claims car hit by debris from rail construction


By Manolo Morales
Published: May 1, 2015, 7:52 pm

A Waikele woman says she was driving on the H-1 Freeway when something hit her car.

Naomi Nascimento contacted KHON2 via Report It and says she believes it came from the rail construction site over the H-1.

She says it happened Thursday night as she was driving home, and while she wasn’t hurt, she’s worried that it could happen again with tragic results.

It happened right underneath a massive structure above the H-1, called a balanced cantilever. Drivers have raised safety concerns about the structure before.

Copyright 2015 KHON2. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://khon2.com/2015/05/01/woman-cl...-construction/
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 12:11 AM   #316
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Is there any talk in Hawaii about some new fast ferries between the islands?

Do they have a plan on how "The Bus" service will be reorganized after Honolulu rail opens?
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 02:23 AM   #317
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Is there any talk in Hawaii about some new fast ferries between the islands?
There was earlier in April, here...

Quote:
Senate wants state DOT to explore ferry system


By Kristine Uyeno
Published: April 10, 2015, 6:09 pm

Could a ferry system return to the islands?

That’s what senators want the state to explore. Lawmakers passed Senate Resolution 116 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 181 asking the Department of Transportation to study the ferry’s feasibility.

There are different types of systems that could be looked at, they say, including ones on the Mainland and in other countries.

“I mean it makes good sense, we’re an island state surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, and we have no viable water transportation system,” said Sen. Michelle Kidani, D-Mililani, Waipio Gentry, Waikele.

Kidani introduced the resolutions, asking the state to take a closer look at a ferry system. The DOT would look at viability, cost and design, among a slew of other details.

Copyright 2015 KHON2. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://khon2.com/2015/04/10/senate-w...-ferry-system/

Whether it will work again or not is a big mystery. A lot of people are still against another try, while others have tried to push for a down sized version. If they do go with a passenger only option, I would like to see something similar to the cruise ferry systems seen across Europe. It would be similar to the cruise ships that already dock at Hawaii harbors only downsized and, maybe, a little faster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Do they have a plan on how "The Bus" service will be reorganized after Honolulu rail opens?
Not that I know of. Currently, people have been asking HART to release a detailed plan on how the system is going to be maintained and at what cost, even before any of the construction is finish.
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 02:27 AM   #318
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Quote:
Lawmakers send bills on rail tax, Turtle Bay, Alii Place for final floor vote
By Web Staff
Published: May 2, 2015, 9:14 am
Updated: May 2, 2015, 10:40 am

House and Senate conferees agreed on Friday to advance bills relating to the extension of the general excise tax for rail, the purchase of Turtle Bay lands for conservation and the purchase of Alii Place.

If the bills pass both houses, they will be forwarded to the Governor for his signature, veto, or passage without his signature.

Copyright 2015 KHON2. All rights reserved.
Read article here:http://khon2.com/2015/05/02/lawmaker...al-floor-vote/
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 02:44 PM   #319
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Yikes , its like a never ending Negative Train..
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 04:29 PM   #320
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maksima View Post
There was earlier in April, here...


Read article here:http://khon2.com/2015/04/10/senate-w...-ferry-system/

Whether it will work again or not is a big mystery. A lot of people are still against another try, while others have tried to push for a down sized version. If they do go with a passenger only option, I would like to see something similar to the cruise ferry systems seen across Europe. It would be similar to the cruise ships that already dock at Hawaii harbors only downsized and, maybe, a little faster.


Would a Hong Kong-Macau type ferry not work for Hawaii?
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