City Planners Push For Railway On Oahu - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

City Planners Push For Railway On Oahu

Charles Djou Charles Djou
Cory Kot Cory Kot
Toru Hamayasu Toru Hamayasu

By: Darren Pai

(KHNL) - A rail system, city planners said, would be used by more people than any other form of mass transit - and they stand behind their research.

"This is the same forecasting model used by the city by the state for any projects on this island. It isn't unique for this project," said Toru Hamayasu, city project manager.

But some drivers say they just don't see it.

"I think it's going to make ridership on the bus go down," said Cory Kot of Kaimuki. "And they can't necessarily prove how in 2030 ridership will go up on this tram thing they want to build."

In January the city will start collecting an increase in the general excise tax to help pay for the system. But some members of the City Council said they're worried those taxes won't be enough if the federal government does not help pay for the project.

"There's a huge gap there in terms of how much money we're going to have and how much money this is going to cost," said Councilman Charles Djou.

"It's not a question of whether rail has merits," Djou said. "It's a question whether the people of Honolulu can afford the system."

The price for a fixed guideway, or rail, system starts at $3.6 billion. Some drivers said that's just too much.

"I think the cost outweighs the actual benefit to the community, especially on this island," Kot said.

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