Honolulu mayoral candidates Duke Bainum, left, and Mufi Hannemann appeared in a debate-like forum last night before the Waikiki Neighborhood Board in the Waikiki Community Center.

2 spar in
Waikiki forum

Hannemann and Bainum differ
over the Bus Rapid Transit

Mayoral candidates Duke Bainum and Mufi Hannemann, in their first debate, differed last night on how they would fund the Bus Rapid Transit system.

Appearing before the Waikiki Neighborhood Board at the Waikiki Community Center, the two former councilmen told residents their positions on Bus Rapid Transit, how they would balance the city's operating budget, and whether they would continue city support for Sunset and Brunch on the Beach.

"I will not ask the Council to fund the BRT," Hannemann said, calling it a waste of money. "My opponent, on the other hand, was the champion of the BRT when he was on the Council."

Bainum said he would not stop the in-town portion of the Bus Rapid Transit, which is already under construction. "But I will not fund BRT if we have a better option."

The city is awaiting approval for the $19 million in federal funding it has applied for to complete the initial segment of the Bus Rapid Transit from Iwilei to Waikiki. The plan is to use dedicated bus lanes and hybrid electric buses to improve traffic from Downtown to Waikiki. The city is using $31 million in city appropriation to construct related improvements in Waikiki starting on Kuhio Avenue, work that has met with criticism from Waikiki businesses.

Hannemann accused Bainum of flipping his position on the Bus Rapid Transit.

A large crowd filled the Waikiki Community Center last night as mayoral candidates Duke Bainum and Mufi Hannemann, shown here making his opening statement, appeared before the Waikiki Neighborhood Board.

Bainum said that he did support Bus Rapid Transit when he was on the Council "because it was the only option available at the time."

Bainum said he doesn't support the way the system is being implemented by Mayor Jeremy Harris' administration.

Bainum, dressed in an aloha shirt and sports coat, arrived at the center first, about 15 minutes before the 8 p.m. debate began and was greeted by standing supporters' hoots, howls and sign waving.

Hannemann, wearing a suit and tie, walked in about 10 minutes later to an equally vocal group of supporters wearing campaign shirts and also holding signs.

Both Bainum and Hannemann said they support rail transit plans.

"I will vigorously support efforts to achieve a workable, affordable light-rail transportation," Bainum said.

They were also asked whether they would continue funding for Sunset and Brunch on the Beach.

Hannemann said the city should find a sponsor to underwrite these events not only in Waikiki but around the island because city coffers should not continue to sponsor these events.

Bainum said he believes the city should assist in the start-up of these programs, but once they are successful, the programs should be funded by the private sector.


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --