Mayoral Candidate Cayetano Promises to Stop Rail Project

by Adriana Pop, Associate Editor If elected, Honolulu mayoral candidate and former Gov. Ben Cayetano intends to cancel the $5.2 billion elevated rapid-transit rail project. Cayetano told the Pacific Business News that the development could be stopped through a veto of the appropriation for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. The rail line, covering a 20 [...]

by Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

If elected, Honolulu mayoral candidate and former Gov. Ben Cayetano intends to cancel the $5.2 billion elevated rapid-transit rail project.

Cayetano told the Pacific Business News that the development could be stopped through a veto of the appropriation for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

The rail line, covering a 20 mile route from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center, requires the purchase of 160 acres. About 20 residences and 67 businesses are planned to be displaced and relocated.

The former governor is convinced that the proposed rail system would not solve Oahu’s increasing traffic congestion. Instead, he favors the idea of adding more buses on the road, with dedicated lanes during certain times of the day.

Cayetano is one of the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit challenging the rail project, along with Honolulutraffic.com Chairman Cliff Slater, former State Judge Walter Heen, the environmental group Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, the Small Business Hawaii Entrepreneurial Education Foundation, University of Hawaii law professor Randy Roth and physician Michael Uechi.

Opponents of the development are accusing the City and County of Honolulu and federal transportation agencies of violating environmental laws. The newspaper reports that a federal judge will hear the case on Aug. 21 in Honolulu.

In other news, Gaylord Entertainment Co. has agreed to sell the Gaylord Hotels brand and the rights to manage its four hotels to Marriott International Inc. for $210 million in cash. Gaylord will continue to own the assets and other businesses and will reorganize into a real estate investment trust, effective Jan. 1, 2013. According to Bloomberg, the company aims to reduce its tax bill with the new status.

Gaylord owns an interest in the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel in Honolulu and expects to become the only lodging REIT focused primarily on group-oriented destination hotels in urban and resort markets.

Photo credits: Wikimedia Commons