Mufi Hannemann said Monday if he is elected governor, he will push to get the Hawaii Superferry back in island waters.
"It is just too good an idea to let it go by the wayside. Those who had the experience of utilizing the Superferry loved it," said Hannemann.
Hawaii Superferry vessel Alakai and her sister ship, Huakai, are expected be put on the auction block in Mobile, Alabama, next month.
Each ship originally cost $85 million.
Hannemann said he is in preliminary talks with a group of private business people including some Hawaii investors interested in buying the two ferry vessels and returning them to the Hawaiian Islands.
"I want try to revive the Superferry," said Hannemann. "Let's at least try. If it can't be done, it can't be done."
The Hawaii Superferry declared bankruptcy May 30, 2009.
Superferry operations had already stopped in March 2009 after the Hawaii Supreme Court struck down a state law that had allowed the ferry to operate while its environmental impact was being prepared.
"I think it got off on the wrong foot," said Hannemann. "One of the biggest missteps was not doing the EIS first."
While the Superferry operated, residents of Kauai successfully blocked the vessel Alakai from entering Kauai's main harbor, Nawiliwili.
And a group of Maui residents and Sierra Club Hawaii sued to insisted the EIS be completed before the ferry be allowed to carry passengers and cargo.
Robert Harris executive director of Sierra Club Hawaii said Monday, if the Superferry is revived, the EIS should be very thorough and include concerns of residents from all the different islands.
"I think this has become such a controversial and political topic that it is difficult to keep politics out of what should be a fair and objective analysis," said Harris.
Critics worried the Superferry might strike whales and carry invasive species between the islands.
Neil Abercrombie, Hannemann's key Democratic opponent in Hawaii's primary election, said Monday the Superferry would need a powerful government partner to get back in business.
"The only way the Superferry is going to come back except in a fantasy is if there is a partnership with the United States military or a private public partnership," said Abercrombie.
After bankruptcy proceedings ended, the state said Monday it received $700,000 of the $1.2 million back rent it was owed by the Superferry.
State Transportation Director Brennon Morioka said the $40 million of harbor improvements the state made that benefited the Superferry were statewide improvements that also benefited other harbor users and funded by revenue bonds.
Morioka said the Lingle Administration would welcome a return of the Superferry.
Morioka said the environmental impact statement the state started for the Superferry will be finished in another six to 12 months.