HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A former governor is taking aim at Honolulu's mayor for his handling of mass transit. Ben Cayetano is part of a coalition of critics with a variety of complaints for city hall. The members have different position on rail, but all of them agree that the city's analysis of alternatives was flawed.
Cayetano discussed the rail issue with Peter Carlisle before offering his political endorsement, but Cayetano said he is now disappointed with Honolulu's new mayor.
"Transparency went out the window the moment he was sworn in because now he talks about fast-tracking. He seems to have listened only to the FTA side," said Cayetano.
"When Ben is an advocate and he decides that he's going to advocate, he put his whole heart and soul in it, and I hope that I can respond accordingly, but no, I'm not going to worry about such comments," said Carlisle.
Cayetano raised several concerns during a news conference for a coalition of concerned groups, like the Outdoor Circle and the League of Women voters. They said the environmental impact statement for the project is flawed. They also believe that the city is moving ahead without properly analyzing alternatives to a heavy rail elevated project, which could lead to lawsuits.
"It runs 50 feet from one of the buildings in our group and our area was not even discussed in the EIS," said Susan Rainville of the group Residents Along the Rail.
"We are absolutely 100% satisfied that we have followed all the laws that have been necessary to be abided with," said Carlisle.
Other areas of concern include the handling of Native Hawaiian bones that may be discovered, as well as the financing for the $5.5 billion dollar project. Some are skeptical that the federal government will actually pitch in $1.5 billion dollars.
"I think we should continue to move ahead with rail concept, but allows folks to come to table and offer an alternative," said Honolulu city councilman Tom Berg.
"I'm satisfied that we are in the current situation, moving forward prudently and appropriately," said Carlisle.