Can Honolulu rail be stopped?

14 Aug

The short answer:

Maybe – although a court will probably end up making the decision.

Rail appears to have been the major factor in chosing a mayoral candidate in Saturday’s primary election.

Incumbant Peter Carlisle got thrown out and anti-rail challenger Ben Cayetano pulled in 45-percent of the votes.

The argument can be made that it also ruined Mufi Hannemann’s run for the 2nd District congressional seat.

The traffic on Oahu stinks – everyone agrees.

But that hasn’t translated into solid public support for a rail system.

Part of it is the fact that rail won’t make traffic congestion less – it just won’t be as bad in a couple of years as it would be if rail isn’t built.

How’s that for a winning argument?

Add to that the enormous investment of cash and political capital and a payoff many years away.

Support rail or not, you won’t riding it for many years.

People are stuck in traffic right now, and they want a solution now.

Going to dedicated bus lanes is not the answer either.
It’ll just take away one lane from already overtaxed roads.

No matter what side of the fence a politician is on, they will get hurt by the controversy.

Surveys indicate voters are upset about traffic and don’t believe rail will solve the problem.

There’s also no denying how much it will change our island’s look.

Then there’s the money.

The City says rail will not go over the $5.7 billion budget.

No one believes that.
Most people think all government projects go over budget.

Cayetano promises to stop rail if he wins the Mayor’s job this November.

That’s hardly a given.

Industry investments have been made, contracts signed, land purchased, concrete poured and more than a half-billion dollars spent so far.

If Cayetano is successful in stopping the project, watch the lawsuits fly.

This will make the H-3 court battles look like child’s play in comparison.

Then there is the federal government which could yank its promised portion because the political support is no longer there in the city.

This whole mess is going to get messier and you’ll still be stuck in traffic.

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