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Hawaii’s Governor Goes to Bat for Troubled Superferry

March 19, 2009 By: Mark Rogers


Hawaii Superferry which carried passengers and vehicles between Oahu and Maui for more than a year, will cease operations after a round trip today and begin laying off its 236 workers.
The Honolulu Advertiser reports that Gov. Linda Lingle is saying she’ll ask the state Supreme Court to reconsider a decision that led to the shutdown of Hawaii Superferry, because the ruling could threaten other laws aimed at assisting particular groups. Earlier this week the Supreme Court ruled that a law allowing Superferry to operate before completion of a related environmental study was unconstitutional because the law was written specifically for Superferry.

Lingle is also concerned that the court's ruling wiped out the operating agreement with Superferry, which includes requiring the company to repay $40 million spent on state harbor improvements, and includes a clause that prevented Superferry from suing the state over the environmental review process or any judicial action.

Lingle said it was too early to talk about Superferry's future or how $40 million spent on state harbor improvements would be repaid if Superferry leaves the Islands. Lingle did note that Superferry wants the state to complete the environmental impact study.

Superferry has not said how long it will shut down. The fact that the company is laying off workers and that there is no imminent legal remedy suggests an indefinite suspension of the company’s operations

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