City council approves resolution to put rail question on November ballot

Dennis Callan
Dennis Callan
Charles Djou
Charles Djou

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - 'Yes' or 'No' to a steel on steel transit system on Oahu? A city resolution to let voters decide in the November elections gets the official green light.

After debating all day Wednesday, the Honolulu City Council approves a charter amendment that gives voters the final say on rail.

The vote was unanimous. The resolution, introduced by Councilmember Charles Djou, will ask voters whether the city should include establishment of a steel wheel on steel rail transit system.

The City Council is divided on what kind of mass transit system Honolulu should build, but united on letting the people decide. All members agreed to put the rail issue on the November ballot.

"To put a question of rail on the ballot but only if Stop Rail Now's petition doesn't move forward and isn't certified to go on the ballot," said Djou.

The move prevents two rail questions from appearing on the ballot. City Clerk Denise De Costa is in the middle of verifying Stop Rail Now's petition, making sure the group has enough valid signatures to place its question on the ballot. Stop Rail Now hopes that's the case, saying the City's version is misleading.

"A 'no' vote by the public would do nothing to change the existing policy. Therefore, the question you're proposing is a false proposal. It's a fake question," said Dennis Callan, Co-Chair of Stop Rail Now.

Callan says, that's because saying 'no' to steel on steel would kill the amendment, and the existing city policy which calls for rail would kick right back in again. De Costa has until September 3 to certify Stop Rail Now's petition.

Also on the table at the City Council meeting on Wednesday - a proposal to create a Public Transit Authority, which would manage the rail system. That proposal did not pass.