Federal Rail Case Eligible for Appeal

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City’s rail rendering

BY CLIFF SLATER – Judge Wallace Tashima issued his final ruling yesterday in the federal lawsuit against the city and FTA over the rail, and that allows HonoluluTraffic.com and the other 7 plaintiffs to at last appeal both this ruling and the others that he has made over the 19 months that this case has taken.

Today’s Star-Advertiser headline is not only misleading, it is totally and completely wrong.


No rail work is being “resumed” whatsoever.

Construction has been halted for some time because of the State Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in the Kaleikini case and will continue to be halted for at least another six months, according to the City.

Far from “resuming,” yesterday’s ruling says the City and FTA, “are hereby restrained and enjoined from conducting any construction activities and real estate acquisition activities in Phase 4 of the Project.”

Rail proponents, including Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle, are now saying that any further efforts on our part is obstructionism. Our case is that the amount that appealing the court ruling will cost is miniscule relative to what rail will cost in local taxpayer dollars to build and maintain this worthless rail line.

Consider spending $5.3 billion (and counting), nearly $4 billion of which will come from local taxpayers, to build a rail line that will cost an additional $100 million annually in operating subsidies, will not have a noticeable effect on the future greatly increased traffic congestion, and in 40 years will have to be renewed and refurbished at a cost close to what it costs to build.

Think Aloha Stadium and the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent on it recently to keep it alive and remember that its original cost was only $37 million; that’s the kind of financial craziness that goes with a heavy rail line.

The 2009 FTA study of the refurbishing and maintenance backlog for the nation’s seven largest rail transit agencies showed that it was over $50 billion — it has grown since then.

Fighting this rail monstrosity is essential to our fiscal health.

See more on the web at www.honolulutraffic.com