By Derrick DePledge
Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, an independent candidate for governor, got some press coverage on Tuesday with his call to restore the Hawaii Superferry.
But those who watch politics closely will remember that Hannemann also called for the return of the Superferry during his unsuccessful Democratic primary run for governor in 2010. It was part of a 10-point economic action plan the former mayor unveiled near the end of the campaign.
Like four years ago, Hannemann has not offered any details on exactly how he would restore interisland ferry service.
The Hawaii Superferry project closed and went bankrupt after the state Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that a law passed during a special session of the Legislature allowing Superferry to operate during an environmental review process was unconstitutional because it only applied to a single company. The court had previously ruled in 2007 that the Lingle administration erred when it exempted $40 million in state harbor improvements from environmental review.
The Navy has acquired the two high-speed Superferry catamarans -- the Alakai and the Huakai -- and re-named them the USNS Puerto Rico and USNS Guam.
Interestingly, there is a candidate this year who has possible plans for a Superferry return to Hawaii: U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who is running for U.S. Senate.
Hanabusa's proposal to upgrade the Pohakuloa Training Center on the Big Island includes moving an existing joint high-speed vessel -- Superferry -- to help lower transportation costs.