Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Court decisions clear way for Honolulu rail

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Two court victories for Hawaii pro-rail forces on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, have removed significant obstacles confronting the controversial $5.26 billion Honolulu Rail Transit project designed to serve the island of Oahu.

In one decision, a panel from the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the elevated rail project complies with environmental law, dismissing charges by rail opponents who claimed environmental risk and damage will result from the construction.

Members of the rail opposition, led by Honolulutraffic.com, reportedly have expressed the belief that any appeal before the Ninth Circuit would likely be their last chance to stop the project.

In a second instance, a lower court judge ruled that Honolulu Authority Rapid Transportation (HART) had properly considered endpoint alternative routes ending at University of Hawaii's Manoa campus, before selecting the route ending at Ala Moana Center. The judge also lifted an order blocking most construction and property acquisition in downtown Honolulu itself.