When Mufi Hannemann brought up reviving an inter island ferry service, it was widely supported throughout the state. The critics seemed to be focused on partisan politics rather than transportation alternatives for Hawaii’s people. A recent StarAdvertiser online poll underscored just how overwhelming the support for reestablishing a ferry service is, and the attached letter to the editor says it all pretty clearly.
Letter to the Editor, StarAdvertiser 6/16/14
Superferry is sorely missed by residents
Regardless of one’s feelings about Mufi Hannemann’s candidacy for governor, knocking the Superferry is not a valid argument (“Keeping Superferry afloat still doesn’t seem reasonable,” Star-Advertiser, Volcanic Ash, June 8).
As someone who travels frequently to the neighbor islands these days and has to deal with exorbitant airline prices and associated inconveniences, it just reinforces the need for alternative ocean options, which are especially helpful to residents as well as being attractive to tourists.
One of my main recollections of travel on the Superferry was the great number of local people and families on board, including workers coming for jobs with their vehicles and gear.
Travel was super convenient, smooth and comfortable, unlike Seaflite, where mechanical breakdowns were a problem. Seasickness was definitely not a significant issue.
I credit any politician who has the foresight and the backbone to propose a fresh look at one of our biggest island deficiencies.
This June 5, 2014 editorial from The Maui News is typical of the reaction Mufi is getting to his bold proposal to revisit the Superferry and restore the popular service by managing the project properly. Mufi said he would do a proper EIS (Environmental Impact Statement), compete with the thorough public review process– the lack of which led to the failure of the previous attempt. Here’s the complete text of The Maui News editorial:
Ferry is a good idea
We have admired former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann for a long time.
Tuesday he gave us yet another reason to respect him. Just after formally filing papers for his independent run for governor this year, Hannemann said if elected he will try to revive the Superferry.
So far, he is the only candidate we have heard even mention the ferry. Gov. Neil Abercrombie said early in his administration that he would try to form a public-private bond (including the military) to bring a ferry system back to the Hawaiian Islands.
The idea apparently died aborning.
Right now it is virtually impossible for families to travel from island to island. Sky-high airfares and baggage fees have grounded folks. Small businesses (including farmers) have no way to get their wares to other islands.
As retired Adm. Thomas Fargo, former CEO of Hawaii Superferry, noted Tuesday, Hawaii is the largest archipelago he knows of with no ferry system. Ordinary people suffer because of that lack.
As we wrote before the ferry shut down, we had friends and co-workers who used the service to deliver students and their belongings to college on Oahu. Simply loaded the car up and got on board – drove off the boat at Honolulu and went straight to Manoa. Then returned to Maui later that night.
There is nothing approaching that convenience now.
Hannemann pledged that his efforts will include complete environmental assessments before any ferry launches.
We applaud Hannemann for having the courage to raise this controversial – but very worthwhile – topic.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.
When Mufi Hannemann and running mate Les Chang officially filed yesterday to run for Governor and Lieutenant Governor they wasted no time in going after a big issue. Hannemann proposed bringing the Superferry, or similar large scale inter island ferry service back to the Islands.
According to AP:
Hannemann said Wednesday that it will not be easy, but he will take a different approach than his predecessors, who introduced an inter-island ferry that failed within two years.
“It’s come up on numerous occasions that people want to see the Superferry come back,” Hannemann said. “And I said, ‘You know what? I think I can take a crack at this again.’ “
Hannemann said he succeeded in building coalitions to push for a rail system on Oahu, and he could use that experience.