Students debate rail issues - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Students debate rail issues

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Aryanne Curcio Aryanne Curcio
Jo-Ann Payongayong Jo-Ann Payongayong
Zuri Aki Zuri Aki
Kaimana Namihira Kaimana Namihira
Panos Prevedourus Panos Prevedourus

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

PEARL CITY (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Rail Transit debate continues, but this time students weighed in.

Some say they liked the project, while other say it's just too expensive. On this Furlough Friday, hundreds of students still managed to get in some learning.

The subject was rail transit.

"I've just been hearing about it and I wanted to learn about advantages, disadvantages, pros and cons of it and it seems like a good idea," Kapolei High School senior Aryanne Curcio said.

Another student already knew the issue like the back of her hand.

"I actually wrote a paper on it in English, I wrote about why people don't like it, so I wanted to come here today to learn why it's good, 'cuz I only knew why it was bad," Kapolei High School senior Jo-Ann Payongayong said.

Even though the $5.5-billion project is moving ahead, some students still don't think it's the answer to Honolulu's traffic headaches.

"We've come up with our own solutions, many different things, many different transportation options that won't be a drain on the economy, will address certain issues," Leeward Community College student Zuri Aki said.

Students like Aki and Kaimana Namihira held a booth opposing rail.

"I highly suggest an investigation into bus routes, look into that, look at different forms of transportation, not just rail that would cost $5.5-billon at the least," Namihira said.

Top anti-rail advocates like Panos Prevedouros agree with Mayor Mufi Hannemann's idea of educating students at Friday's Youth Rail Summit, but he feels the mayor left out one big issue of how much of a burden it'll make on student's wallets.

"As an engineer, I want to build a system that's affordable now and for the future generations, with respect for the land and for our project because we too have to survive, so our children survive and have a good lifestyle," Prevedouros said.

City and County of Honolulu officials say it's time to move on and focus on the future.

"This rail system, we're going to be building over the next 10 years is really going to benefit them, by then they'll be working or have families, but it's also about their children and grandchildren," Honolulu managing director Kirk Caldwell said.

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