Lawmakers To Vote On Rail Route

Karim Hammani
Karim Hammani
Joey Trisolini
Joey Trisolini

(KHNL) - With Hawaii's major college campus just up the road, the intersection of University Avenue and King Street sees a lot of traffic.

Small businesses like Aloha Board Shop say the trick is getting some of those commuters to drop in and take a look.

"Traffic in the morning's terrible. Traffic in the afternoon's terrible. Midday's terrible," said Karim Hammani, the store's owner.

The Honolulu City Council on Tuesday will consider building a mass transit line reaching the University of Hawaii's Manoa campus. The council had previously been scheduled to only consider one route running from Kapolei to Ala Moana Center.

This is not the first time the council will debate the UH proposal. Last week council members voted against essentially the same route after city planners said it was not cost-effective.

Some shop owners are hoping the city approves a university transit station, which could lead to more business.

"I don't think you could buy a surfboard and take on a train, but it would definitely increase some foot traffic," Hammani said.

Some university students said a transit line would make commuting to campus a lot easier.

"We have over 20,000 students, it's important that they're accommodated," said UH sophomore Joey Trisolini. "Especially since a lot of them are coming from the pearl city area and out in the country."

Although they like the idea of a rail system, some university students said they're concerned the project would be overly expensive and take years to complete.

"It wouldn't be the easiest just because this island's already built up," Trisolini said.

Even if the system doesn't reach the university district, rail supporters said the project needs to start somewhere.

"I mean everywhere else in the U.S., a rail system is proven it works, so I think it's a good idea," Hammani said.