Comments on rail available to public


POSTED: Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The city has released public comments contained in the draft environmental impact statement for its proposed 20-mile rail transit system, including criticism of its plan to build a raised rail system along Ala Moana and the historic district of Chinatown.

The release follows a proposed resolution drafted by City Council member Duke Bainum calling for Mayor Mufi Hannemann's administration to release the public comments.

Bainum said he believed that a review of the comments should occur during the planning stages so that decisions about the rail transit could examine all possibilities, especially in light of its estimated cost of several billion dollars.

Hannemann's spokesman, Bill Brennan, said the administration plans to address every comment in the draft environmental impact statement.

Under the federal process, public comments do not have to be released until a final environmental impact statement is completed.

Council Transportation Chairman Gary Okino said that in response to a formal request to the city Department of Transportation Services, he received copies on compact discs of all public-comment letters. Okino said he was grateful for Hannemann's quick response.

“;This should take care of it rather than passing another piece of legislation,”; Okino said.

Okino's office said 623 comment letters were submitted to the Department of Transportation Services, containing some 3,500 specific comments.

Okino said about 500 comment letters came from individuals, including one man who submitted 40 letters.

Okino said he expected all the comment letters to be critical but was pleasantly surprised to find that many were in support of the project.

The comments are posted online under item D-0322(09) at www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/View/Collection-1125