New poll on rail project reflects division in community - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New poll on rail project reflects division in community

By Lisa Kubota - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new poll for Hawaii News Now and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser shows that roughly half of those surveyed want the rail project to move forward, but most residents are concerned about the rising cost. A group of high-profile rail opponents filed a lawsuit last week to try to stop the project, but among likely voters surveyed for our Hawaii Poll, 49% said work should proceed on Oahu's rail transit system, compared to 45% who disagreed.

"It's still the majority want us to proceed with the rail project and believe it's the best way to deal with traffic here on the island of Oahu," said Honolulu mayor Peter Carlisle.

However, when residents were asked if they thought the rail project would end up costing a lot more than the $5.3 billion estimate, a combined 88% agreed.

"I think the public is just coming to their senses," said rail opponent Cliff Slater. "Anybody that has had anything to do with a public works project in Hawaii knows that there will be cost overruns."

"I think a lot of people believe that, and historically, they're correct. I can guarantee you that everything is being done at every level - the federal level and the local level - to make absolutely certain that we're keeping a handle on the costs," said Carlisle.

Slater, who is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed on Friday, called the poll results strange.

"The answers to the four questions just don't make sense when you look at them individually," he said.

Voters seemed to be split on questions about whether the jobs created would be worth the cost of the project, and whether rail is the best solution to deal with traffic.

"I think once that we have people who are employed and that reaches out into those people's families and extended communities, that to my mind is going to be a very big plus," Carlisle said.

When asked if they agreed that the reduction in traffic would not be worth the cost of the project, a combined 53% said "yes" while a combined 40% said "no."

"The big one is the fact that they're inferring that there will be traffic reduction," said Slater. "The city has already explicitly said in the FEIS that traffic will be worse in the future with rail."

The city also said in its final environmental impact statement that the comparison that is key is that rail will improve traffic conditions compared to what they would be if the project is not built.

 

Q13. Do you think work should proceed on O'ahu's rail transit system? (n=443 O'ahu respondents)

Yes............................................................................. 49%

No............................................................................... 45

Don't Know/Refused.................................................. 6

 

Q14. Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree that:

a. The rail project will end up costing a lot more than is currently estimated.

b. The jobs created will boost the economy so much that the cost of the project will be worth it.

c. Something needs to be done about traffic and rail is the best solution.

d. The reduction in traffic will not be worth the cost of the project.

            (a)                           (b)                       (c)                    (d)

         Rail will           Cost of project         Rail is best       Reduc. in traffic       

         cost a lot         will be worth it           solution          not worth cost   

Strongly agree ...66%         16%                     29%                    35%

Somewhat agree...22           28                       21                       18

Somewhat disagree...7         21                      19                        20

Strongly disagree...4             28                      28                        20

Don't know/Refused...2           6                        3                          7

Sample size (N=)...443          443                    443                     443

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