What Do You Think About Mass Transit?

(KHNL) - Oahu is in the preliminary stages of finding a solution to its growing traffic situation. And officials want to know what you think about it.

Dozens of West Oahu residents packed Kapolei Hale Saturday morning to find out more on the four proposals.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann feels a rail transit system would be the best.

"Light rail with buses, with a ferry system, with the synchronization of traffic signals, also with a strong push to have people live work and play in the same area, is all part of it," said Hannemann. "I believe light rail is the centerpiece of all this."

However, the big project could be a big problem for some, who could lose their homes. Mark Giblin says the proposed rail system could run right above his home in Ewa Beach.

"My question to the Mayor was is this gonna effect the properties," said Giblin. "What's the intention? Are you gonna buy me out at market price? Are you gonna condemn my properties?"

Hannemann says questions like these are why these public meetings are so important.

"We haven't made a final determination," said Hannemann. "There's still plenty of time to work through those issues, and we're gonna try to avoid it at all costs."

Giblin says the mayor said he would sit down and try to deal with each owner who could possibly be affected.

"He says I'll make them an offer, and I told him I was gonna hold him to that," said Giblin. "And he said he's been held to everything since he's been elected."

More hurdles for the rail system -- cost, which is estimated at more than $3 billion; and it's not the most aesthetically pleasing.

"Once people see it, feel it, ride it, they can't wait for the next system to be built," said Hannemann. "I believe that's what's gonna happen to Honolulu."

The city is required to hold these public meetings, because it plans to use federal money to help pay for any mass transit system.

Hannemann says he'd like to break ground on a rail system in 2009, with the first phase -- from West Oahu to Downtown Honolulu -- completed in 2012.