Ewa Beach gets informed on rail - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Ewa Beach gets informed on rail

Mike Araki Mike Araki
Marilyn Valderama Marilyn Valderama

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

EWA BEACH (KHNL) - November's general election is weeks away and one of the most talked about issues on Oahu is the island's largest proposed public works project ever.

                A rallied effort to bring a 20 mile elevated transit rail system to Honolulu has supporters reaching out into the community through a series of meetings to engage the public in this controversial project. For community members it was all about comments, questions, and concerns about the proposed rail transit project. But before they vote yes, it must first pass their very thorough test.

Mike Araki and his children are searching for a solution. Living in Ewa Beach, he spends about an hour and a half commuting to work each way. He says something has to give.

 "It's really bad. With the rail I'd be able to bypass all of that traffic congestion," said Ewa Beach Resident Mike Araki.

Looking at informational boards, the crowd sees statistics. They're learning information like the project's creation of 11,000 jobs, its mobility, reliability and the rail system's cost of nearly four billion dollars. But others aren't impressed.

 "I was ready to vote yes but after seeing what I did here, I'm ready to say no," said Ewa Beach Resident Marilyn Valderama.

Valderama says Kapolei is the closest rail stop to her home and she says that means no one in Ewa Beach will reap the rail's rewards.

 "We're here, we're paying for it and it's not even coming to the area.  We've got traffic from 4:30 to how long to get out of here with one freeway entrance," said Valderama.

Still, others say if not addressed now, the island's commute concerns will soon affect everyone.

 "As generations go by, we'll need something to help alleviate traffic congestion in the future and to me rail is the way to go," said Araki.

Highly debated, there's no doubt community members will continue to talk about the proposed rail that will soon be up to voters to determine the project's destination.

By 2030, the project is estimated to take about 25,000 cars off the road a day. But still, opponents say it will turn the island's infrastructure upside down. They're searching for other solutions. Promoters are hoping voters find rail the right way to deal with traffic problems.

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