Anti-Rail Group Continues Collecting Signatures

Dennis Callan
Dennis Callan
James Thresher
James Thresher

DOWNTOWN HONOLULU (KHNL) -- A group opposed to Honolulu's rail proposal is stepping up efforts after Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced last week he wants to include a rail link to Honolulu International Airport.

Organizers of "Stop Rail Now" need 40,000 signatures to put the issue to a vote this November. So they continue pounding the pavement, hoping to reach out to more people.

They're trying to change the course of Honolulu's mass transit future one person at a time. Volunteers with "Stop Rail Now" say their voices are not being heard.

"And we were ignored by the politicians who kept pushing rail, rail, rail and nothing but rail," said Dennis Callan, a founding organizer of "Stop Rail Now."

They want to put the issue to a vote in November.

"So we reached the point where we decided to take the action in our own hands and start an initiative so that the public can decide," said Callan. "It's too important of a decision to leave to the politicians."

With two months to go, it's hit or miss. Some didn't have the time, but others like James Thresher are happy to sign.

"This thing is a waste of taxpayers' money," said Thresher. "Most of it is, I'll never ride the thing because I ride a bike and I commute on the bus."

Critics say, this group has an agenda. "Stop Rail Now" has ties to a taxi company and other transportation-related organizations. But volunteers say they rely on individual contributions and are not controlled by any one person or group.

"We are much bigger than those few people," said Callan. "It's pretty ludicrous to say we're controlled by two people."

They say, it comes down to what's best for the people of Hawaii, and letting voters decide is the most democratic thing to do.

"So with this initiative you see, the people now have a chance to make the decision," said Callan.

Again they need those 40,000 signatures by August 1st to put it on the ballot. If they don't succeed, they plan to continue collecting signatures to force a special election if necessary.