Sunday, November 29, 2015         

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State Supreme Court denies request to reconsider rail decision

By Kevin Dayton


The Hawaii Supreme Court today denied a request by the city to reconsider the court’s unanimous Aug. 24 court ruling that stopped all construction on the $5.26 billion rail project.

The court ruled in August that the State Historic Preservation Division violated its own rules when it allowed construction to begin before the city had completed an archaeological inventory survey for the entire 20-mile rail route.

The court also invalidated a special management area permit issued by the city for the rail project.

The Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation sued the city in 2011 on behalf of Paulette Kaanohiokalani Kaleikini, challenging the city’s decision to conduct the rail archaeological survey in phases.

“We are grateful that the law as written, which provides iwi kūpuna with the respect and protection they deserve, has been upheld,” said Ashley Obrey, attorney with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation in a written statement.

The city stopped all construction on the rail project in the wake of the August court ruling, and has had crews working night and day for seven days a week in an effort to more quickly complete the archaeological survey work so that construction can resume.

Each month of construction delays costs the city an estimated $7 million to $10 million, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Executive Director Daniel Grabauskas has said it may take nine months to complete the survey and restart construction.

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