Rail opponents announce milestone accomplishment - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Rail opponents announce milestone accomplishment

Michael Uechi Michael Uechi
Cliff Slater Cliff Slater

By Leland Kim - bio | email

DOWNTOWN HONOLULU (KHNL) - A group trying to put an anti-rail question on the November ballot says they have done it.  They say they verified enough signatures to put their ordinance on the November ballot, but will it actually make it to the ballot so voters can have their say?

We are along a busy stretch of Nimitz Highway near the airport, and Oahu traffic is why the mass transit issue has become such a controversial issue.  While the group says they have the necessary signatures, it's now out of their hands.

The future of Oahu's mass transit system could be decided this November, and if this group has anything to say about it, they want to derail Mayor Mufi Hannemann's light rail plan.

"What's the phrase I keep hearing?" asked Cliff Slater, a spokesperson for Stop Rail Now. "It's too much for too little. It doesn't do anything about traffic congestion."

But the mayor has said his plan is tried and true, and the best option for Oahu.  He says millions and millions of federal funding shows the government's confidence in light rail.

But since late April, Stop Rail Now has been collecting signatures to put an anti-rail ordinance on the November ballot.  Now, they say they have enough.

"We're able to validate almost 49,000 at a correct rate of about 70 percent that leaves us with about 35,000 valid signatures," said Michael Uechi, another Stop Rail Now spokesperson.  "We believe it should be a sufficient number to carry us into the ballot."

And still the question of how many signatures are needed remains.  Stop Rail Now says 35,000 is enough, and the city clerk has said she needs 45,000.

Slater says it's important to let the people decide.

"When you're spending that kind of money, billions and billions and billions of dollars, the citizens' common sense needs to get there to overrule the politics of the issue," he said.

They say what happens with this issue is important to all those who lives on the island.

"What everybody wants is a reduction in traffic congestion, a lessening of commute time especially in the corridor going out to Kapolei," said Slater. " Everybody wants that."

A common problem with several different proposed solutions.

Stop Rail Now is hoping circuit court judge Karl Sakamoto or the State Supreme Court makes a decision later this week, and they're hoping it goes in their favor.

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