HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A group opposed to the city's rail transit project took out a newspaper ad to drum up support and to raise money for a legal challenge to the controversial system.
The ad, with the heading "Stop Their Train!", appeared on page A-6 of Wednesday's Honolulu Star-Advertiser. The group paid about $5,500 for the ad space, according to rail opponent Cliff Slater.
The lists five reasons to stop the rail project. One reason is that the city won't be able to come up with adequate funding, and that the project itself will cost more than the city's current estimate of $5.3 billion.
"It most probably will be seven (billion dollars), but if you take the city's number, about five-five (billion), and they got a grant of $50 million from the federal government," Slater said. "That's enough to start their petty cash fund for a project of this size.
According to Slater, the group also bought the ad because they wanted to show what rail will look like going through downtown. Opponents say the project will be an eyesore.
"Once they understand that, once they see what it looks like, then they want to get involved," Slater said.
Slater also contends the city said, in its own environmental impact statement, that traffic congestion will be worse, even if rail is built.
"That's in 2030," said Mayor Peter Carlisle. "If its worse in 2030, can you imagine what it will be like if we don't have rail? It won't be worse. It will be catastrophic by then."
Carlisle also countered that the ad doesn't address two aspects of the projects.
"They don't mention in this (ad) any ounce of job creation," said Carlisle. "And that's one of the most significant aspects of the rail. it's going to be putting people back to work."
Carlisle also claimed rail should take cars off the road. "It's environmentally friendly, which I notice they didn't put down in here, either," said Carlisle. "This is a very good effort for green."
Opponents hope the ad will get people to join their cause, and contribute money to pay for a lawsuit they have filed against the city and the Federal Transit Administration to stop the project. Slater said they would like to raise $240,000.
"We've raised $152,000 so far," Slater said. "We think $240,000 should just about do it."