Proposal for Honolulu's mass transit system stalls in committee - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Proposal for Honolulu's mass transit system stalls in committee

Romy Cachola Romy Cachola
Tony Soon Fah Tony Soon Fah
Todd Apo Todd Apo

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

SALT LAKE (KHNL) - A proposal to change the route of Honolulu's mass transit system, stalls in committee.

Thursday, the City's Transportation Committee deferred the issue until January seventh.

That's the day the public comment period for the rail project's Draft Environmental Impact Statement is over.

The idea is to give the public more time to weigh in on whether rail should go through the Honolulu International Airport instead of Salt Lake.

The rail debate over the airport versus Salt Lake hits a sore spot for Salt Lake residents who voted in favor of the mass transit system.

"I feel betrayed."

As the Transportation and Public Works Committee decides to hold off on a decision until the City is done gathering public input, Salt Lake's Councilmember, Romy Cachola asks a loaded legal question.

"Is there a possibility of anyone who has been deceived or think they've been deceived believing the rail route would go to Salt Lake, rather than the airport to file a case to invalidate the result of the ballot question?" said Cachola.

"There's always a possibility of a lawsuit. I think today is the last day for a challenge on the election."

Despite Cachola's preference, election numbers indicate Salt Lake residents did not overwhelmingly support trains running through their neighborhood.

At the Salt Lake District Park polling place, 531 voters said yes, 368 said no.

But at Salt Lake Elementary School, the vote was nearly even.

Same thing at Radford High, where the margin was close.

"The reason for the rail is for the residents. It's for the people. It should not be for the businessmen, and obviously, by running it through the airport route, it's for the businessmen," said Salt Lake resident Tony Soon Fah.

"There's a large amount of our residents that work the airport area, but also there are a large number of local travelers," said Todd Apo, Committee vice chair.

Transportation officials say the airport route will bring in 7,000 more riders than Salt Lake, but will cost at least $220-million more.

The city plans to hold five community meetings to gather input on the rail project.

Dates and locations have not yet been determined.

But transportation leaders say the meeting will be sometime in early December.

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