Opponents Raised $600,000 to Stop City’s Planned Honolulu Rail Project, But More is Needed for Federal Appeal

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City’s rail rendering

BY BOBBIE SLATER – Last week, Chief U.S. Federal District Court Judge Susan Oki Mollway wrote, “On behalf of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii,” in a letter to the Federal Transit Administration and the Honolulu Area Rapid Transit Authority, absolutely blitzing the City’s planning of the rail project. For an entire court to approve such a letter is unprecedented.

This is the letter: Click here.


And here is a sample: “Remarkably, the Project’s proposed rail route fails to run along ‘the highly congested east-west transportation corridor between Kapolei and UH Manoa,’ the very corridor expressly identified as the route the Project is intended to serve. The Project’s proposed rail route does not go anywhere near the UH Manoa campus. Instead, it goes to the Ala Moana Shopping Center!” She might have added, “And what has that to do with relieving traffic congestion, the Center does not open until 9:30AM.”

As Richard Borreca warned the City in Tuesday’s Star Advertiser“Pay attention when a judge uses exclamation points.” And he observed that, “If the train does not go through Kaka’ako and end at Ala Moana, it obviates the need for the transit-oriented development festival planned for Kaka’ako.”

In a footnote to the first page, Judge Mollway refers to a letter she wrote earlier, also representing all the Hawaii federal court judges, commenting that the Halekauwila Street route “….was not prudent nor feasible, particularly with respect to still unresolved serious security risks to the United States district Court building presented by the proposed route of the Honolulu Rail Project.”

This letter adds much to our contention that the City did not really “rigorously explore” the alternative routes and vehicle types as the law requires them to do.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear our appeal on August 15th, and will take note of this letter as it is being filed as part of our appeal. Our attorneys, and also our attorney-plaintiffs, believe we have an excellent chance that the court will rule in our favor and tell the city they have to go back to the drawing boards and do the alternatives analysis legally.

I am personally very proud of the fact that we have raised over $600,000 in this effort so far. Think how difficult it is for people in a town where there is such fear of the government, and yet our community has given so much. We need to raise an additional $60,000 for this last effort, and any help that anyone can give will be greatly appreciated.

Your tax-deductible checks may be sent to this 501(c) (3) fund:

Hawaii’s Thousand Friends Rail Legal Fund, 25 Maluniu Street, Kailua, Hawaii, 96734

We thank you in advance for all of your help. You have written so many letters, testified, waved signs, and gotten mad for a long time. The end is in sight.

All the best to everyone,



Click on the letter to read


We are a citizen group concerned with the unnecessary waste of taxpayer funds that would be incurred through the construction of a rail transit line in Honolulu together with the blight that would be visited on our city by an elevated noisy rail line snaking right through it. Learn more and join us>
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