More on the Challenge to Honolulu’s Steel on Steel Heavy Rail System

City's rail rendering
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BY HONOLULUTRAFFIC.COM – Our hearing this past Wednesday in Federal Court concerned the City and the FTA’s Motion to Dismiss four of our eight plaintiffs in our lawsuit that challenges the approval of the Environmental Impact Statement for the city’s rail system.

The City/FTA also filed to dismiss on the grounds of our supposed insufficient detailing of historic properties and resources. Judge Tashima will rule on these two issues soon.


As far as dismissing plaintiffs, it accomplishes nothing as Judge Tashima noted on Thursday. Even were he to dismiss the four, the remaining four would still continue on with the Complaint.

Nor did the other filing concerning historic properties stop the suit from continuing. In the unlikely event he were to rule against us, the suit still goes on.

What has become clear is that the City/FTA is fighting not to get clarification on the legal issues, but rather to obstruct and delay in any way they can. The advantage gained by the government is solely to run up the legal expenses in an attempt to freeze us out. We plaintiffs have to raise money from volunteers whereas a majority of the City Council continues to give the City Administration unlimited legal funds to fight us.

The big issue in the delay is that the FTA and the City have refused to produce the Administrative Record despite a nearly seven month lag from the filing of our complaint. The record of emails and phone calls between our attorneys and theirs clearly indicate a sudden foot dragging starting last July.

Nicholas Yost, arguably the nation’s leading environmental lawyer, who has been practicing such law for 40 years, told the media, “Back in September they said there were 500,000 documents, which are the universe from which the administrative record would be selected, that they had isolated them, and they were ready. So why haven’t they come up with it?”

He said that in all his years he has never seen such a delay in the production of an Administrative Record. For example, the Record of Decision was researched on the basis of the Administrative Record so they have no excuse in not providing it. Judge Tashima one ruling on Thursday was to order the City/FTA to produce it by January 13, 2012. Our attorneys will be conferring with their attorneys shortly and the result of these discussions will determine our future moves.

The media weighed in on the Court hearing. Here are links to their reports:

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