(HONOLULU, Hawaii, April 16, 2012) – More than 30 of Hawaii’s leading business and community leaders have joined together to form a new organization, Move Oahu Forward, in support of the City and County of Honolulu’s rail transit project. Under the leadership of its co-chairs Connie Lau, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries, and Richard Dahl, CEO of the James Campbell Company, Move Oahu Forward’s mission is to educate Oahu residents on the benefits that rail transit will bring to our community.
“We have a rare opportunity to vastly improve our transportation system on Oahu and secure a better quality of life for many in our community,” said Connie Lau, co-chair of Move Oahu Forward. “The recent accident that shut down a big part of the H-1 freeway magnified the need for a comprehensive, integrated transportation solution that should include rail transit, in addition to our buses and highways.”
“The Honolulu Rail Transit Project is an investment in our future. It will not only reduce traffic congestion, but also spur the growth of our local economy, benefit Oahu’s special environment, and improve lifestyles for so many island families. Rail transit is about a long-term vision for Hawaii. It is for our children and our grandchildren,” said Lau.
“This is a critical time for the rail transit project. We lost the opportunity before and we cannot afford to lose it again,” said Richard Dahl, Move Oahu Forward co-chair. “We have confidence in the Federal Transit Authority’s (FTA) review process and believe that Honolulu has a very viable project with a sound financial plan. We are pleased to hear that the project has already collected more than $800 million in General Excise and Use Tax (GET) revenue, which is ahead of projections and in addition the cost of the project is below the estimated cost. ”
“The members of Move Oahu Forward support this project and the benefits rail will bring to our community,” added Dahl. “With the support of our congressional delegation and the firm commitment of the Federal Transit Authority (FTA), there is no better time than now to stand behind this project and we encourage our fellow citizens to do the same.”
“I am very pleased that Oahu’s business community has stepped forward to support rail transit. It has taken leadership and courage,” said U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye. “I have been around long enough to remember the building of H-1, H-2 and H-3. There was passionate debate and disagreement; there were also compromises and concessions reached, as in any good democracy. Today, I am thanked and not condemned for H-3. Rail transit will provide a meaningful transportation alternative for West Oahu—it is their turn for a measure of relief from traffic gridlock. It will also help to break down the socio-economic walls which divide our beloved island. Federal support for rail is solid. Funds are in the budget and we’re ready to go.”
Move Oahu Forward will launch a communications effort which will include advertising and
community outreach activities to help educate the community and clarify information about rail transit.
Move Oahu Forward recently held its first community event to announce the formation of the organization. More than 150 business and community leaders were present to learn about the mission and goals of Move Oahu Forward and meet Dan Grabauskas, the newly appointed CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART).
“We were very impressed with Dan Grabauskas and his commitment to more openness and transparency for the rail transit project. We agree that more information needs to be provided to the residents of Oahu, and are confident that Dan will be an effective leader for the project,” said Lau.