Timetable for transit changes
A study of alternatives will be completed for a Council vote before a new tax takes effect
The city administration plans to complete a federal study so the City Council will be able to select the type of mass transit for Oahu before a new tax to fund the project kicks in.
Transit Scoping Meetings
Hear what transit alternatives are being considered and let the city know if you have any ideas:
» Dec. 13, Blaisdell Center, 5 to 8 p.m.
» Dec. 14, Kapolei Middle School, 7 to 9 p.m.
For more information: www.honolulutransit.org
Last month, members of the Council were not pleased to hear that they would not be able to pick the transit plan until after the city begins collecting the 0.5-percent general excise tax on Jan. 1, 2007.
But Toru Hamayasu, city transportation chief planner, told the Council's Transportation Committee this week that the schedule has been changed to allow for the analysis of transit alternatives to be completed by Nov. 1, 2006, so the Council can select the transit system by Dec. 31, 2006.
The alternatives analysis details the transit options the Council will consider.
Hamayasu's comments came before the committee approved a resolution urging the administration to finish the study by Nov. 1.
"With this establishment of a procedure and having the concurrence with the (Federal Transit Authority), we are confident that we can meet the intent of the resolution," Hamayasu said.
Hamayasu said the city originally was going to do both the analysis of transit alternatives and the draft environmental impact statement at the same time.
"This is the most efficient way of doing it," Hamayasu said, because the city would have produced one document for both studies.
But that would have meant that the Council would not be able to pick a system until early spring 2007.
Now, the city will complete the alternatives analysis first and then finish the draft environmental study after the Council picks its preferred transit alternative.
"Technically, it's going to be exactly the same," Hamayasu told the committee. "The only difference is a separate document."
After the meeting, Hamayasu said that completing the environmental study on a separate track could add a few months to the overall time line leading to construction, which could begin as early as 2009.
Council members liked what they heard.
"I think it gives the public the assurance that we know where we're going," said Councilman Gary Okino, who was not happy with the administration's original timetable. "I think we're back on the right track."
Hamayasu said the public will get the first chance to comment on selecting a transit option at so-called scoping meetings scheduled for next month.
"The scoping meeting is required to let people know what is the scope of the project," Hamayasu said. "What's significant about this scoping meeting is that people are going to know the alternatives that we're looking at."
But the public will also get a chance to weigh in with their transit ideas. "If it makes sense, we'll look at it," he said.