Oahu residents explain why they support rail - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Oahu residents explain why they support rail

toru Hamayasu toru Hamayasu
Wayne Yoshioka Wayne Yoshioka

By Leland Kim - bio | email

KALIHI (KHNL) - The Director of the Honolulu Department of Transportation Services says, there is a lot of misinformation out there about the release of the draft EIS and other aspects of the rail project. City officials say they want to "set the record straight."

They say the City can afford the project, and a homeowner who has to give up her home agrees.

Boulevard Saimin has been an island favorite for these customers for almost 50 years.

"Wonderful. We can enjoy. Our children have grown up," said  restaurant customer Theresa Kojima.  "The only place we know is Boulevard Saimin."

The restaurant was flagged as a building that might be torn down because of the rail project, but it's been saved.

 "That building was built in 1960, so by the time we start the construction in a couple of years, that's going to exceed the threshold of fifty years that would qualify for a historical significant building," said Toru Hamayasu, Transportation Services Deputy Director.

Evelyn Kawano is a long time customer.

Her favorite saimen restaurant has been saved, but her Pearl City home is targeted to be razed.

"It's for the future generations. Not so much for us, but for future generations," said Kawano.  "Because where are they going to move to?"

She says she doesn't mind making the sacrifice.

"You're okay with moving then?" asked KHNL. 

"As long as it's fair compensation," said Kawano.

City officials they've taken painstaking efforts to miniminize impact on Oahu homeowners, business owners and tax payers.

"We can afford the rail project. We can pay for this with the proceeds of the projected point five percent of the GET surcharge and then anticipated federal participation," said Wayne Yoshioka, Transportation Services Director.  "No property taxes are needed to build this system."

City officials stand firm on rail for Honolulu, and some residents agree, the time is now.

"And it just got more expensive," said Kawano.  "In the future, if we need, it's going to be more expensive.

City officials insist no property taxes are needed to build the rail project.

They also say it will create almost 5,000 construction jobs, and almost 6,000 indirect jobs.

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