Transportation Experts Recommend Oahu Rail System

Mayor Mufi Hannemann
Mayor Mufi Hannemann

By Joann Shin

(KHNL) - Gridlock is a problem that needs a solution fast.

The team tasked with finding the best possible solution chose rail.

"The study determined this would have the greatest potential to slow the growth rate of traffic congestion," said Mayor Mufi Hannemann at a news conference Monday afternoon.

The group came up with two possible routes.

Plan 1 from Kapolei to Ala Moana Shopping Center at a cost of $3.6 billion dollars.

$600 million over the original projected cost.

"The 20 mile alignment is monies that I'm almost 100% guaranteed we can count on. We know through the general excise tax, that for 15 years, we're going to have half percent of that," explained Hannemann.

The second route would run from Kapolei to the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The price tag would be $4.6 billion.

Councilman Charles Djou said, "We were hoping that the general excise tax revenues would be sufficient, now it's looking like it's not. We have to find additional revenue sources and that unfortunately means tax increases and this is just money that people just don't have."

Despite the recommendation, a rail system isn't guaranteed.

The council could consider a "no build option".

Another possibility is to expand on the existing bus system.

And a final option is to build a double deck highway between Waipahu to Downtown Honolulu.