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Caldwell still supports rail, won’t speculate on project’s future

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Mayoral candidate Kirk Caldwell says he remains a strong supporter of the city’s delayed rail transit project but says it is premature to speculate on its future, in light of the recent state Supreme Court decision.

Caldwell is traveling with his family on the mainland and was unavailable for an interview, but issued a statement today through his campaign.

“This issue remains in the courts and it is premature to comment on what will happen with rail,” Caldwell said. “I remain a strong supporter of the rail project, as I believe it is our best option for traffic relief and modernizing Honolulu’s transit infrastructure.  

“Whatever the Court decides, our traffic problems are not going to go away; I would really like to see a better option if there is one.  In the meantime, there are many other city issues that a serious mayoral candidate should be addressing.  I’m anxious to do so.”  

Caldwell is facing former Gov. Ben Cayetano on the November ballot. Cayetano has vowed to kill the $5.26 billion project if elected.

The city on Monday agreed to temporarily halt construction on the rail project apart from some short-term tasks required for an orderly shutdown.

The moves comes after the state Supreme Court ruled Friday that the State Historic Preservation Division violated its own rules by allowing the project to proceed before the survey was complete. 

The ruling also found that the special management area permit the city issued for the rail project is invalid. 

The decision sends the case back to state Circuit Court for further proceedings.

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