Transit Vote Stuck in Political Gridlock

Charles Djou
Charles Djou
Nestor Garcia
Nestor Garcia

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- After heated debates and deadlocks, the Honolulu City Council walked away Wednesday night without a vote on Oahu's controversial mass transit plan.

It's a critical decision Council members must make, and now, after this latest delay, Mayor Mufi Hannemann announces he's tired of the Council's gridlock.

The Mayor says he finds it incredible and unbelievable the Council failed to make a decision.

He says he refuses to allow any delays on the mass transit project, saying the city will move forward with steel wheel on steel rail technology.

After nine hours of public testimonies and political bickering, the Honolulu City Council ended the night without a decision over what kind of mass transit technology Oahu should use.

With Council Chair Barbara Marshall absent, the Council kept deadlocking, with four in favor, four against.

"I think that exactly shows you here that the City is not proceeding with confidence. There is no consensus here. We haven't built consensus in the community to say that this is definitely the way to go, the community is very very much divided as is this Council is divided," said Council member Charles Djou.

Divided over four technologies: a rubber-tire system, monorail, magnetic levitation, and steel wheel on steel rail.

The council decided to postpone the vote until the next meeting when all members are present in hopes of breaking any more deadlocks.

"At some point, somebody has to make up their mind and apparently this Council has yet to make up its mind and if it fails to make up its mind, then I say the Mayor should make that decision," said Council member Nestor Garcia.

If the decision falls in the hands of Mayor Hanneman, Oahu will likely see a steel on steel light rail system, the technology the Mayor has long favored.

In a statement, the Mayor says "This situation is the worst example of raw politics that leave residents disgusted and disillusioned with public officials in general."

The Council takes up the mass transit issue again on April 23.