Honolulu mayoral candidates sound off on rail during forum

Kirk Caldwell, Peter Carlisle, Charles Djou

The primary election is just a few weeks away, and on Tuesday, the top three candidates for Honolulu mayor squared off at a forum.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, former mayor Peter Carlisle, and former Congressman Charles Djou shared ideas about how to fix some of the issues facing the city.

As predicted, rail was a hot topic as all three candidates weight in on the future of the project.

Djou: Now we have all these discussions of whether or not spending is going to $8.5 (billion), possibly even $11 billion. Enough is enough. We the people have done our part. What needs to happen now is the government needs to fix itself. All this incompetence, this mismanagement, this mishandling of this rail project has to be worn and corrected and fixed with new leadership over at Honolulu Hale.

Caldwell: If you switch to different technology, you’re back to doing a new EIS (environmental impact statement), a new AIS (archaeological inventory survey), you’ve got legal challenges, you’ll have to redo the route. We already have an operations center that’s built, we have the trains, we have the rail line in place. So if we go to modern technology, as Charles talks about, we are set back at least 10 years with all the challenges we face, and guess what folks? It’s not free.

Carlisle: The key to basically dealing with rail is to see it through to the end. It would be absolutely nonsensical under any circumstances to stop what was promised, which was from Ala Moana back to Kapolei, and Kapolei to Ala Moana. Right now, we have the funding to be able to pursue another number of years, but we’re going to have to seek more funding. It is not under any circumstances going to come from property taxes.

The candidates also discussed homelessness, traffic relief, and financial stability.

The Rotary Club of Honolulu hosted the forum at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.

The primary election takes place Saturday, Aug. 13.

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