Honolulu mayoral candidates discuss hot-button issues

Panos Prevedouros
Panos Prevedouros

By Kristine Uyeno - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Could the rail project be the deciding factor in the Honolulu mayoral race? It has voters and candidates split. Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann supports a steel-on-steel system.

"Number one reason, It's dependable and reliable, number two, that's what the fed government is funding. The Federal Transit Administration is poised to give near a $1 billion for this," said Hannemann.

Ann Kobayashi, who gave up her city council seat for this race, favors a different system.

"Because rubber on concrete vehicles can do the same thing as steel on steel but it's more flexible because you don't have to lay down track, and it doesn't use a lot of electricity, it's a hybrid," said Kobayashi.

On the opposite end, is University of Hawaii professor Panos Prevedouros, who opposes rail.

"The number one reason is that in the year 2030, with the analysis the city has done, congestion will be far worse with rail, than it is today, without rail," he said.

He wants to solve our traffic problems with synchronized traffic signals and managed lanes.

"Having a reversible express way, especially for express, tour buses, van pools and carpools from the H-1, H-2 merge, all the way to downtown," said Prevedouros.

There are other topics on their agenda.

"We're going to continue to look at things, like my office of economics is going to create a dual use technology center that will create tech jobs in our community," said Mayor Hannemann.

Kobayashi is worried about the landfill and its effects on the Waianae community.

"They were promised it would be closed, and yet the city is asking for a 15-year extension so we need to go to the source, fix the H-power and pick up-to-date technology there," she said.

But it seems rail, may be what will drive voters to the polls.