Rail poll shows growing support for project

Peter Carlisle
Peter Carlisle
Tom Berg
Tom Berg

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new poll gives what Mayor Peter Carlisle calls a clear and firm snapshot of the public's support for the rail project, but not everybody is buying it.

The big number the Mayor touted was that overall rail support is 57 percent while 40 percent oppose.  That's better than two and a half years ago when voters approved the issue.

The scientific poll was done by Qmark Research.  It also found that 58 percent feel the rail is a good investment for Honolulu while 38 percent do not.  The results reiterate the mayor's own convictions for the project.

"I believe in this project, I have every reason to believe in this project and everybody else believes in this project and that's what you should get from this poll," said Mayor Carlisle, during a news conference in his office. "A lot of people are sitting there saying the sky is falling, you've got all these issues with these lawsuits, you've got all these issues about what people are saying about who got this part of the contract or that part of the contract, not so. Unequivocally not so."

The poll surveyed 902 people from May 9 to May 20.  It included 100 people from each of the nine council districts.  Each district had more supporters than opponents with the highest support coming from district eight which includes Aiea and Pearl City.  The lowest support was in district five which includes Manoa and Kaimuki.  Leeward Oahu came in tied for fourth which is interesting since that's where the biggest traffic concerns are.

"We have some 54,000 registered voters in District 1 alone and to take a survey of 100 and claim the vast majority support rail, I beg to differ. I think this poll is very skewed," said Tom Berg, Leeward Oahu Councilmember. "Right now the question should have been specific, do you favor rail going from a corn field to a shopping center?  Do you believe the GET should be extended beyond the year 2022 if we don't have enough money? Are you in favor of paying 4.25 interest in floating bonds?"

The majority of rail supporters have lived outside of Hawaii, are younger and more affluent.

Opponents reasoned the project is too expensive, they won't use it and neither will others.

When asked if the mayor has read the lawsuit that could delay the project, his response...

"No but I'm told I should because it's interesting. I think the word given to me was entertaining as well but I wasn't in the mood to be entertained by a lawsuit," said Mayor Carlisle.

The poll cost $24,000 and was paid for by Parsons Brinckerhoff, which has been contracted by the city to work on the rail project.  The poll has a 3.27 percent margin of error.

People were also asked if they expect to ride the rail once it's finished, 45 percent said they expect to use rail while 55 percent said they did not expect to use the train.

Click here to download the complete poll.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.