Mayor assembles panel to discuss rail project

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Honolulu mayor Mufi Hanneman is trying to give people an idea of the importance of rail and future island transportation by taking a look back.

Monday, he assembled a panel of former Department of Transportation workers and other City and State employees.

To show just how long Oahu has been looking at putting in rail, he also wants residents to hear the opinions of those who have been in charge of our roadways over the decades.

"This is the only alternative that is available to provide additional capacity from Ewa to Downtown," said Ed Hirata, former transportation director.

"If it was a good idea in the 1970s, it's an even better idea in the 21st century," said Fujio Matsuda, former transportation director. "We have studied this to death."

Members of this panel, who have been involved in other big road projects of the past like the H3 freeway, say rail transit is the only way to get more people in and out of downtown city streets without turning it into a parking lot.

Trains would also cut down the emissions from cars on our roads.