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Don't let vocal minority delay Oahu rail project any longer

LAST UPDATED: 5:45 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

As a west side resident, I cannot believe that the same vocal minority is continuing to try to derail Honolulu's transit project, with total disregard for voters and communities forced to struggle with growing traffic woes.

What is worse is that the City Council, many of whom are newcomers to the political arena, seems to think this handful of chronic critics somehow represents the general public.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

This project has been debated and reviewed for years. Many communities — Waianae, Ewa, Waipahu, Aiea, Pearl City, Aliamanu, Kalihi and more — have long supported rail. We are hardworking residents, many with more than one job, and do not have the luxury of being able to spend the day at City Hall pounding our fists in favor of rail. But we are here. Public confidence in rail is strong; it's the public confidence in the Council that has declined.

I occasionally watch these Council meetings on television and I am discouraged by the politics being pulled into this project. That is why the voters supported creating the public transit authority: to take the politics out of the process. Why does the Council keep arguing over keeping its authority over rail? Is that not what the new public transit authority is for? This is the reason people in Hawaii don't vote, because politicians don't listen.

I hope the new transit authority has the courage to exercise its independence and send the City Council a strong message that lets these politicians know that the public transit authority is there to represent the community. And the transit authority is what voters want. I'm sure the Council has enough to do. They should focus on fixing our sewers, streets and public parks. Let the experts do rail.

It's time for us to stand together. Local people don't like to make waves; it's not our style. But if we let these folks push us aside, it will not be the last time.

Politics has already caused unnecessary delays and added costs. It's time to move the project forward. The people voted on this issue and they voted for rail — I am one of them.

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