Transit planning has many on board
Residents living along the proposed route are most likely to back rail
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Oahu residents are giving the city's transit plans a positive reaction, according to a new poll.
The survey, done by SMS Research for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and KITV, shows that 60 percent of Oahu residents are in favor of the city continuing to build the $4 billion rail system.
The survey also shows there is more division among residents about the technology the city plans to use.
According to the poll, 46 percent say the planned train with steel wheels on a steel track is the best way to go. But 36 percent say the city should look at something else.
Still, rail transit's main proponent, Mayor Mufi Hannemann, said the results show that the public is behind his plan. "They want action," he said.
The poll has a margin of error of 4.8 percentage points.
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The city's transit system plans are winning a strong endorsement by Oahu residents, according to a new poll taken for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and KITV4.
Residents, however, are divided on the type of system that should be used, with 46 percent favoring the planned system of steel-wheeled trains riding on steel tracks. Thirty-six percent said they would prefer something besides steel-on-steel.
The survey shows that 60 percent of Oahu residents are in favor of the city continuing its development of rail transit.
When asked if they wanted to continue develop or stop it, 24 percent said they would want to halt planning and construction of the $4 billion system.
The strongest support comes from younger residents, ages 18 to 34, with 71 percent of those surveyed in favor of building the system.
Those 55 and older were split with 50 percent saying build it, 34 percent saying stop, and the rest either unsure or refusing to answer.
The poll was taken by SMS Research from July 18 to Wednesday. A total of 402 Oahu residents were surveyed by phone. The poll's margin or error is plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.
When the pollster grouped the responses by location, it shows that those living along the proposed route were much more in favor of the project that those living off the route.
The survey shows that 70 percent of those living near the East Kapolei to Ala Moana route supported it, as compared with 56 percent support from those living off the route.
Geography makes no difference regarding the question of what type of technology to use, with 44 percent of those living on the route and 48 percent of those living off the route both favoring the steel-on-steel plan.
The poll results reassured Mayor Mufi Hannemann, the principal architect of the transit system.
"We have been out in the community and we have always felt that the silent majority supports rail. They are tired of sitting in traffic, listening to studies. They want action," Hannemann said in an interview in his City Hall office Friday.
The chief rail opponent, University of Hawaii engineering professor Panos Prevedouros, says he doesn't think the poll is correct. Prevedouros is running against Hannemann in the Sept. 20 race for mayor.
City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, also running against Hannemann, said she supports a transit plan but notes the difference of opinion regarding technology as support for her idea that there are better ways to build the transit system.
"I have always been in favor of mass transit, I voted for the fixed-guideway, but I am opposed to steel-on-steel," Kobayashi said.
She argued that the transit system needs to be widely discussed in the community and said Hannemann has not been open to discussion.
Hannemann said that the close division between steel-on-steel compared with other technology tells him he needs to do more work in the community.
"It is clearly the number one choice, but we have some work to do," Hannemann said. "I recognize that we are probably going to have to give 100 more speeches, 100 more coffee hours, but now people are focused.
"We have to make ourselves more available, but I don't see us changing our strategy at all."
To fund the rail system, the Legislature gave the city the ability to raise the state excise tax collected on Oahu from 4 to 4.5 percent and use the extra money to construct a fixed guideway transit system.