Putting Abercrombie & Aiona in the hot seat, Part 2: Rail Transit

By Kim Gennaula

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - We start tonight with rail transit.  Although this is a city project approved by voters, the next governor will still have to sign off on the Environmental Impact Statement to allow rail to proceed.  Oahu's future super train could still be derailed.

The battle is still far from over on our future with rail transit.  Even with millions in federal funding locked in, critics say our state can't afford it.  So, I asked the candidates where they stand.

I asked Lt. Governor Duke Aiona, "If the numbers don't work, the revenue stream versus cost versus expected ridership, will you continue to support rail?"

Aiona responded, "If the numbers don't work, I will not continue to support rail.  It is my duty and obligation right now to review the environmental impact statement to see if it's financially feasible and in line with the environmental regulations and standards that needs to be met.  If the report that comes back that's been commissioned by the current administration proves that it's not feasible then I will not sign off on the EIS."

Neil Abercrombie says rail will be a reality under his watch.

"I'm going to support rail in one form or another.  As I have since the 1960s.  The next governors job, it seems to me, is to see where do the mayor, now inaugurated, the next council and see where do they want to go - with transit, what is possible. Once those figures that you mentioned are clearly in mind with the new council making up its mind in the direction it wants to go then the Governor needs to work in a cooperative basis with that council and that mayor to try and resolve any outstanding issues - financial or otherwise."

Over the next several days at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. on HawaiiNewsNow, I'll ask the candidates for governor the same questions and you'll see just where they stand on the important issues.

Tomorrow at 5, find out how Duke and Neil feel about possibly legalizing marijuana as a way to boost our economy.

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