Oahu business owners and motorists frustrated by rail delay

Oahu business owners and motorists frustrated by rail delay

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some are second guessing their support for rail after officials announced on Tuesday the project is likely another year behind schedule with a shortfall of $1 billion.

"At first I was for it, now I don't know. I think it's hurting the people more than helping right now," said Rachel Cruz.

"Makes me kinda wanna leave or maybe move to an area where the rail's not even touching like Kaneohe side or something like that," Pearl City resident Bianca Kuga said.

Businesses along the rail's path are taking a beating because of construction and traffic congestion, especially ones along Kamehameha Highway. Business owners say the big announcement on Tuesday is not just unacceptable to the mayor, but to them as well.

"On heavy traffic days, they just drive right by, they don't want to stop," said Pearl Kai Shopping Center merchant Sandra King.

King is the owner of Liquid Metal Tattoo & Piercings. She says some of her customers avoid the area from 3:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., which is usually prime time for them.

"We lose business, we lose business on a daily basis because of that," King said.

She said hearing about the delay was devastating.

"That's definitely not good. That actually was pretty disheartening to hear that," King said.

King said she has seen five businesses in the shopping center close since construction began.

There will be a forum next Tuesday, Sept. 22, from 8:30 a.m to 4:00 p.m. at the Neal Blaisdell Center to discuss development opportunities as well as environmental issues along the rail line. It's free and open to the public, but you do have to register to attend. To register, click HERE.

There are 225 properties along the entire Honolulu rail transit route that will be affected by the project. In some cases the entire property will be acquired. In other instances part of the property or the easement will be seized. Some of the properties also lease to several businesses.

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