Proposed Rail Project Major Issue in 2010 Mayoral Race

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Courtesy of

BY CHUCK KEILING – A special election is being held in Honolulu for Mayor.  The main issue is the construction of a Rail System.  A public vote was held for or against the rail.  The result I believe was 50.6% for rail and 49.4% no rail.


The three main candidates are two pro rail attorneys and one anti rail college professor/engineer.

A pro rail candidate is the former Honolulu Prosecutor.  At debates he cannot understand how the anti rail engineer/professor candidate could stop the rail as mayor after the people voted for it. Especially since the professor comes from the cradle of democracy, Greece.  Here is what the prosecutor fails to present.

Details presented to the people pertaining to the rail vote:

  • 1.        The cost to be 4.6 billion dollars.
  • 2.        Light rail
  • 3.        A route that went through a specific neighborhood, “Salt Lake”.
  • 4.       The project will make 10’s of thousands of jobs.

Details pertaining to the rail today:

  • 1.       The cost to be 1 billion dollars higher.
  • 2.       Change from light to heavy rail.
  • 3.       The route has been changed eliminating the neighborhood of “Salt Lake”.
  • 4.       The number of new jobs has been reduced from tens of thousands to 368.
  • 5.       The city has been ordered by the EPA to upgrade sewer treatment from primary to secondary at a cost of over 7 billion dollars.
  • 6.       A main water connection breaks every day.  So many breaks are expected in the Hawaii Kai neighborhood built by Henry Kaiser, the water company wants to build a base yard there due to expected breaks.  The cost of upgrade repair is 1.5 billion dollars.
  • 7.       The economy has taken a serious nose dive.
  • 8.       After five years the City admits that traffic congestion will get worse with rail. “You are correct in pointing out that traffic congestion will be worse in the future with rail than what it is today without rail, and that is supported by the data included in the Final EIS.”
  • 9.       The rail will eliminate 6,666 automobiles at a cost of $825,000 per auto.
  • 10.   The City has now the sixth largest budget deficit in the nation.

It seems the pro rail candidate/attorney, considers the rail vote a contract between the city of Honolulu and the people.  A contract is binding on both parties only to the extent that the legal system under which the contract is made has the power and processes to enforce the contract terms against the defaulting party.

The result of a vote for or against a municipal project does not create an enforceable contract between the electorate and the project proponents. There is no legal way to compensate for a breach. You have no legal remedy against the proponent.  If the voters were defrauded by the proponent and lied to just to get their vote the stopping of the rail would be the only fair, just and right thing to do.

Chuck Keiling is a resident of Oahu