Citizens Launch Petition to Stop Rail Project in its Tracks

Dennis Callan
Dennis Callan
Delorese Gregoire
Delorese Gregoire
Mike Uechi
Mike Uechi

By Mari-Ela David

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- The controversial decision to build a mass transit rail system on Oahu could fall in the hands of voters in the November election.

On Monday, a group of citizens launched a petition drive to stop the project from picking up speed.

Phase one of the mass transit project would end with a pit stop at Ala Moana.

But if the grassroots effort is successful, voters would have the power to say yes or no to having a rail system.

Anti-rail protestors rallied for support to derail Honolulu's rail transit project at Honolulu Hale.

A group called is calling for a city ordinance banning trains or rail transit in Honolulu.

"The mayor has an arrogant stubborn position, pro rail or nothing, so we've tried the political process through the council and testifying and it hasn't worked," said Dennis Callan, a protestor.

They need 30,000 signatures by August 1st to place the proposed ordinance on the November ballot.

"This is my second round. 20 years ago, I protested it, same reason. It's going to put our entire community and our kids, their kids, and their kids in debt. And we just can't afford it," said Delorese Gregoire, a protestor.

Mayor Mufi Hanneman was not available for comment Monday, but in a statement, his office says "From the very beginning, opponents of transit have talked about this. It's not really anything new."

Anti-rail protestors admit their campaign won't be easy.

"We've been forced to resort to this measure which is going to take a lot of work on our part but we're ready to do it," said Callan.

If their ordinance becomes law, city leaders say it would override any decision the City Council or Mayor makes on the rail project.

"Have faith in the power of your signature. Let's stop Goliath and rail now!" said Mike Uechi, a protestor.

On Wednesday, the City Council is scheduled vote on what kind of transit system Honolulu should get.