Council Members Revive Dead Transit Bill with Two New Ones - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Council Members Revive Dead Transit Bill with Two New Ones

Ann Kobayashi Ann Kobayashi
Donovan Dela Cruz Donovan Dela Cruz
Mayor Mufi Hannemann Mayor Mufi Hannemann

By Mari-Ela David

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- The transit bill may have died last night but the political battle is not over.

A couple members on the Honolulu City Council refuse to give up their right to choose what kind of technology the city should get, by introducing two new bills.

 Ala moana is the last stop of phase one of the proposed rail project.

The new bills are designed to stop a steel on steel train from running through the area.

In a fresh attempt to revive the transit technology bill that died Wednesday night, Council Members Ann Kobayashi and Donavan Dela Cruz have introduced two new bills: One calls for rubber tire on concrete, and the second bill calls for rubber tire and magnetic levitation.

"We want the project but we're just opposed to steel on steel. I just can't envision a steel train going through our city," said Kobayashi.

We heard from some of the consultants Wednesday night. They already said that when they made the presentations they have very limited information on the other technologies and all they did was go with the Mayor's panel on whatever their recommendation was, which was steel on steel," said Dela Cruz.

But Mayor Mufi Hanneman says steel on steel is the cheaper choice, that the federal government is willing to pay up to $900 million of cost of the project. He says the other options have a bad track record of attracting federal dollars.

"I have great doubts whether we can afford to do mag lev or rubber tire because that would mean we'd have to finance it entirely with local taxes," said Hanneman.

The Council has until July 16th to exercise its right to choose a technology, but the Mayor says he still plans to move forward with steel on steel. Even if the new bills pass, Mayor Hanneman says he plans to veto them.

The bills must go through committee first, most likely the Transportation Committee. Kobayashi says a majority of the Transportation Committee members favor steel on steel, so she says there's a slim chance the bills will pass, but Kobayashi and Dela Cruz say they're still determined to try.

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