comscore City's poll finds majority favors rail | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News

City’s poll finds majority favors rail

Honolulu Star-Advertiser logo
Unlimited access to premium stories for as low as $12.95 /mo.
Get It Now

    @Caption1:Mayor Peter Carlisle and City Councilman Breene Harimoto released the results of a city-commissioned survey on a planned rail transit project Wednesday at City Hall. The poll showed public support for the project.

A city-commissioned poll conducted last month showed that 57 percent of people on Oahu support the $5.3 billion rail transit project.


>> Strongly support:30%
>> Somewhat support:27%
>> Somewhat oppose:15%
>> Strongly opposed:25%
>> Don’t know/refused:3%

Of the 902 people surveyed across the nine City Council districts, 40 percent opposed the project, while 3 percent said they either didn’t want to reveal their opinion or didn’t know what their stance is.

About 100 people in each of the nine districts were polled from May 9 through May 20. The poll’s margin of error is 3.27 percent.

PB Americas Inc., the engineering consulting firm for the project, contracted QMark Research to conduct the poll.

Mayor Peter Carlisle said the poll cost about $24,000.

The poll was needed because the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation begins operations next month, and it needs to know whether support is still there, Carlisle said.

"A lot of people are sitting there, saying, ‘The sky is falling.’ You got all these issues with lawsuits, what people are saying about people who got this part of the contract or that part of the contract," Carlisle said. "Not so. Unequivocally not so."

Those surveyed were presented with the following statement and were asked whether they strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose it:

"The City and County of Honolulu is moving forward with the development of a 20-mile, elevated rail transit line that will connect West Oahu with Honolulu International Airport, downtown Honolulu and Ala Moana Center."

Among supporters of the project, 31 percent of them raised concerns about cost.

That echoes a recent Star-Advertiser/Hawaii News Now poll that found 9 out of 10 residents agreed that the project is likely to cost more than the $5.3 billion price tag.

That poll, released last month, surveyed 443 residents. It showed that 49 percent of people believe the work should proceed on the system while 45 percent said no, and 6 percent said they didn’t know or refused to answer.

The poll also showed that most residents do not expect to use the rail transit system. The survey showed that 45 percent expect to use it, while 55 percent said they won’t.

Carlisle said the city’s poll was conducted to assist the 10-member rail authority board, and was in response to "unscientific" online polls that showed distaste for the system.

"If the authority’s going to engage the public, it shouldn’t be from a perspective of something that’s been suggested that isn’t accurate," Carlisle said. "A lot of the things that we get from these unscientific polls have nothing to do with the way polling should work."

Rail critic and former mayoral candidate Panos Prevedouros, a University of Hawaii civil engineering professor, pointed out that in the breakdown of those polled, 52 percent of women supported it while 48 percent of men supported it.

"The remaining percentage to the claimed overall 57 percent of support of rail is what?" Prevedouros asked in an email.

City Councilman Tom Berg said he prefers that the issue go back up for a vote again.

"To take a sample of 100 out of some 54,000 (in District 1) is not at all a representation that can speak volumes or be legitimized," Berg said.

In 2008, voters were asked if they favored a steel-on-steel rail project. It passed with a 51 percent majority. That year, the project was estimated to cost about $3.7 billion, which was later adjusted to be about $4.28 billion days before voters hit the ballot boxes.

"We’re not on the same track as we were in 2008," Berg said. "There seems to be lacking here a tipping point. … At what point do you say stop? At what point do you say, ‘I’m no longer able to broker the deal the voters voted for.’"


Comments have been disabled for this story...

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up