Rail supporters join in on Honolulu lawsuit

Long wait times and traffic tie-ups going in and out of West Oahu are scenes all too familiar for Leeward Oahu residents.

"They're stuck in traffic in sometimes two to three hours a day, sometimes four hours a day. And their kids -- they can't do afters chool sports; you can't do a second job. Really, the quality of life is really reduce," said attorney Bill Meheula.

Reverend Bob Nakata represents the group Faith Action for Community Equity, or FACE.

The group disagrees with rail opponents who have sued the city to try and stop the rail project. They include former Governor Ben Cayetano and long-time rail opponent Cliff Slater.

FACE says a rail line will lead to more affordable housing on Oahu.

"Rail allows us the opportunity to fight for such housing. I believe without rail it's not possible," said Rev. Nakata.

Nakata said rail construction will support work force housing for families, making it feasible for more local residents to stay here.

"The working class will be out of Hawaii. They'll be pushed out of Hawaii because they can’t afford it," Rev Nakata said.

Rail opponent State Sen. Sam Slom said rail is a poor investment of money the city just doesn't have.

"First of all, we don't have the money. Where's it going to come from? We haven't gotten that id="mce_marker".5 million from the federal government, and we likely won't get it," said Sen. Slom.

Sen. Slom said so-called HOT lanes, and bus rapid transit are all feasible alternatives to rail.

"You could build a lot of traffic solutions, and you could also build housing for the homeless, and you could have mental health facilities as well as taking care of our dilapidated sewer water and highway road situations," Sen. Slom said.

On April 14, federal judge Wallace Tashima granted FACE what's called "Intervenor Status" in the lawsuit against the city's rail project. Trial is set for August.

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