HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Politicians have talked about building rail on Oahu for more than 40 years and right now it's the closest its ever been to breaking ground, but that depends on who is elected mayor on Saturday.
Panos Prevedouros says he's riding the anti-rail momentum after Tuesday's debate when he said...
"The amendment we passed says shall, well I may shall do rail, but I may shall not do rail because I shall not have money because it's been taken for the sewers," said Prevedouros during the debate.
That actually made sense to people, that he could legally stop the $5.5 billion project.
"The funny thing is I can leave it alone for as long as I want. In other words put on a snooze button and nothing happens. Nobody really has to stop the rail. The charter amendment authorizes steel on steel and that's all that it does. It is not binding, it is not mandatory," said Prevedouros, during an interview at the intersection of Kona Street and Pensacola Street, an area where businesses would be closed to make way for a rail station.
He claims the Hannemann administration pressed the snooze button on charter amendment eight in 2006 that called for pedestrian and bikeways that was passed by 72 percent of voters but was never started.
"Every project as long as it's in the paperwork state, it's almost like that to stop it, literally. Once it starts, different game," said Prevedouros.
His lawyers tell him he would need to settle the contracts that have already been awarded but he couldn't be sued.
"I'm staking my reputation telling them it's the absolutely wrong thing for Oahu. There's nothing for me personally to gain, nothing whatsoever. And I would really hate to stop a transportation project as a transportation expert, this is the wrong transportation project for our needs," said Prevedouros.
If he did win the next mayor after him could pick up the project again, but chances are the $1.5 billion promise of federal money would be gone. And the construction costs would likely jump which is why rail supporters want to beat Panos.
"I'm not going to speculate because I assume I'm going to be the next elected mayor and we're going to work hard to build this project," said Kirk Caldwell, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate.