Rail line route raises airport safety issue


POSTED: Thursday, March 18, 2010

City, federal and state officials met on Oahu in an attempt to resolve a question about whether the proposed rail transit line intrudes into a safety zone at the Honolulu Airport.

City Managing Director Kirk Caldwell said officials with the Federal Aviation Administration and Federal Transit Administration met yesterday to discuss the proximity of the rail line to the Diamond Head-mauka side of the airport.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said his agency is providing an analysis about several rail alignments' potential effect on airport operations.

Part of the proposed 20-mile rail line runs along Aolele Street and would stop at a four-story station at Lagoon Drive, less than 1,000 feet from the end of runways 22 right and left, and encroaching on the airspace buffer zone, government officials said.

Officials said while there are other buildings such as warehouses in the area, the station would be as high as the freeway viaduct and closer to the runway.

Caldwell said Mayor Mufi Hannemann met with FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff two weeks ago and discussed the need to resolve the airport alignment issue, prompting the meeting yesterday.

;[Preview]  City's rail project may be too close to airport

The FAA says the city's rail transit plan runs too close to an active runway.


Watch ]





“;It's all about good news here,”; Caldwell said. “;The good news is by talking, we think there will be a resolution and we can then move forward.”;

Caldwell said “;midlevel”; officials were meeting to resolve the issue.

“;I don't think it's back to the drawing board,”; Caldwell said. “;This is a facts-driven process at this point.”;

Caldwell said he didn't want to speculate whether the alignment would change.

He said the City Council voted to move the route to the airport to make it a viable mass transportation system.

Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi said she, along with some other Council members, met with federal transit officials in Washington, D.C., last week.

Rogoff told them his department was going to try to address the issue of the airport safety zone, Kobayashi said. “;He sounded like he wanted the project to keep moving,”; she said.