Measure selects buses for mass transit
Mayor Hannemann vows to veto any bill that does not choose a steel-rail system
In what is likely to be an uphill battle, two City Council members introduced a measure yesterday selecting a rubber-tire bus as the technology for the $3.7 billion mass-transit project despite Mayor Mufi Hannemann's unwavering determination for a steel-rail system.
The only way for the City Council to resurrect its ability to select the technology is up to Council Chairwoman Barbara Marshall, who missed two crucial City Council meetings because of a family emergency. Marshall did not return several phone calls yesterday.
Councilman Todd Apo, acting chairman while Marshall was away, said yesterday it is typical of the Council to let bills go through first reading for discussion. He said he does not know how this particular bill will fare, though.
Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, who introduced the measure along with Donovan Dela Cruz, said there still needs to be more discussion on the system's technology.
"We don't believe that steel on steel is the best technology for the city," Kobayashi said yesterday. "We can't just give up. We're doing this in order to save taxpayers money."
In a long and frustrating meeting last week, the City Council repeatedly deadlocked in 4-4 votes and ended up rejecting a bill that would have included three technologies -- steel rail, rubber-tire bus and magnetic levitation. The next day, Hannemann said he would move forward with steel rail as the technology for the elevated system running from Kapolei to Ala Moana.
At least four councilmembers pushing for steel rail have said they would not support a new bill, and Hannemann has vowed to veto any measure that selects anything else.
Six votes are needed to override a veto, unlikely with four members backing rail.
"There's nothing to prevent me legally from going forward with what I said," Hannemann said yesterday. "It's their call to introduce another bill. I have not been convinced that there's any option better than steel on steel for us."
Dela Cruz said the longer the Council prolongs these discussions, the support for steel rail could waver with more information provided to the public.
"We're not afraid of more information coming out as long as it's factual," said city Transportation Director Wayne Yoshioka.