Cayetano: Federal Ruling Means More Cost and Delay for Rail Project

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REPORT FROM CAYETANO CAMPAIGN FOR MAYOR – The recent decision by Judge Tashima that the city violated the law on three issues will have a major impact on the timeline for the construction of the project and, will mean even more cost overruns.

Ben Cayetano



Governor Cayetano said that the City’s claim of victory in the lawsuit was “very premature.” “Judge Tashima’s ruling that the City ‘arbitrarily and capriciously failed to complete reasonable efforts to identify above-ground TCPs (Traditional Cultural Properties) couldn’t be more clear.”


The issues – the failure of the City to identify above ground Traditional Cultural Properties, the failure to consider a Beretania Street Tunnel as an alternative route, and the potential negative impact on Mother Waldron Park will require the City to redo its Final Environmental Impact Statement and issue another Record of Decision—both complex and time-consuming matters.


Governor Cayetano also believes Judge Tashima’s demand to consider construction of the Beretania Street Tunnel, which would avoid impacting cultural landmarks such as Chinatown and the Dillingham Transportation Building, could put a stake through the heart of the entire project.


“The City knows,” said Governor Cayetano, “that based on the Fasi-era rail proposal, tunneled rail is difficult and very expensive. This is why the Hanneman rail plan was for an all elevated service. Mr. Grabauskas and Mr. Caldwell proclaim this can be easily rectified. They are dead wrong.”


“We believe,” said Governor Cayetano, that the tunnel will cost a billion dollars per mile of tunnel and will push the date of deliver by four years.”


He mentioned the enormous engineering and cost issues to consider:


  • Where will the tunnel portals go?
  • Given all the pile driving in downtown, how deep would it have to go in order to find space for a station or two?
  • Where is the cost limit for the project? (Two underground stations will cost over half a billion dollars).


The Governor said, “We have always maintained that this project is like a steamroller running through the middle of our city without regard to cultural properties not to mention, threatening the aesthetic beauty of our city. Honolulu is almost entirely dependent on the tourism industry. It’s our economic engine and maintaining the cultural integrity and beauty of the city is paramount. A rail project that would desecrate our cultural icons while doing nothing to alleviate traffic congestion is a foolish endeavor.”


“The delays caused by the City’s incompetence in running this project are already costing millions and the judge’s decision only multiplies the damage that rail has already inflicted on taxpayers.”


The Governor concluded, “the ruling also illustrates rail can be slowed down in the courts by dint of incompetent management by the City. However it can only by stopped at the polls.”






  1. It seems like Ben has a new issue now with the Federal court finding that the EIS is amiss but read further in the 45 pages and and you will see that the Federal Judges do not want rail going next to their courthouse. That is a rail killer along with the cost of Beretania Blvd. tunnel. Add $650+ mill for that section. Then the reason for the rail was to connect to UH and that is also not true. 3 parts of the ruling is a big show stopper and that is why the Mayor,Kirk, and HART all spin it as a bump. Why would they have a hearing in December about an injuction for a small bump? A permanent stop by the courts until it is taken to the 9th appeals level and even the US Supreme Court could take years. Stop the payments now by voting for Ben.

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