BY HAWAII REPORTER

Carlisle Says House Transportation Chairman Supports Rail Project

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle reported the city’s $5.5 billion rail transit project has a key supporter in Congress — by Rep. John Mica, head of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Carlisle, along with Hawaii U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, met with Carlisle Thursday to discuss the 20-mile rail project that’s designed to alleviate projected traffic congestion.

“This project will service the area where the vast majority of Oahu’s population live and work and will help address the area’s traffic congestion issues,” Mica was quoted as saying in a press release distributed by Carlisle’s office.

“I support this project, especially with Honolulu’s local commitment and I will continue to work with Rep. Hirono and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to make sure the project does not get bogged down in bureaucratic red tape.”

The meeting with Mica came on the heels of the Federal Transit Administration’s issuing a Record of Decision earlier this week. The FTA action was hailed by Carlisle and other rail supporters as a major milestone for the project that will connected East Kapolei with Ala Moana Center.

“Receiving the Record of Decision was a tremendous step forward for Honolulu and Rep. Mica has offered to help us continue our implementation and expedite the construction of our project by working with the FTA, Rep. Hirono, our entire Congressional Delegation, and the U.S Congress,” said Carlisle.

Carlisle also reported meeting with Rep. John Duncan (R-TN), Chairman of the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the Ranking Member of that Subcommittee, and Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), the Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Hirono also sits on the committee.

The City said it plans to begin the initial stages of construction by relocating utilities along the project alignment within the next month.

Carlisle on Friday is to attend a meeting with Pres. Barack Obama and other mayors at the White House.

Honolulu among Top Commercial Real Estate Markets

Honolulu ranks among the top markets for commercial real estate in the U.S., according to a Moody’s Investors Service study.

The ratings agency said Honolulu was the strongest of the markets surveyed in its study of properties in commercial mortgage backed securities during the fourth quarter.

Rounding out the top five markets were New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Orange County, California.

Moody’s said commercial real estate markets across the country either improved moderately or were stable during the fourth quarter. The ratings agency ranks markets through a color-coding system in which red is the weakest, yellow is better and green is the strongest.

“The commercial real estate markets are continuing down the road to recovery, though the fact that most markets remain yellow indicates that a comfortable point of stability has not yet been reached,” says Moody’s Vice President Keith Banhazl, in a statement issued by the ratings agency.

Mori Rejoins KHON after Leaving Transportation Department

KHON2 said Tammy Mori will rejoin the station on Jan. 21 when she brings her traffic expertise to KHON’s Wake Up 2day.

Mori had worked at the Fox affiliate before joining the state Department of Transportation two years ago as a spokeswoman. Lately she has provided the station’s viewers with special traffic alerts. The station said it will be expanding its traffic information with a live data traffic system.

KHON2 said Mori will work team with KSSK radio’s Jason Yotsuda to provide traffic coverage.

Lingle Receives Boating Award

Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle was the recipient of one of a dozen BoatUS Recreational Boating Access Awards for 2010. The award honors people, projects and public policy measures that protect water access for boaters.

Lingle was cited for her support for improvements at the Keehi Small Boat Harbor.

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