Ben Cayetano today sent a letter to Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle and Daniel Grabauskas, Executive Director and CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit, calling on them to halt construction and design work on the Honolulu Rail Project. “The Hawaii Supreme Court has ruled that the City’s commencement of the Honolulu Rail project was illegal,” said Cayetano. “As such, the City should immediately call for a stop to all design and construction work on the project.”
On Friday, the high court found that the City failed to comply with the State’s historic preservation and burial protection laws when it did not complete an archeological inventory survey for the 20-mile route prior to commencing construction. As stated by the Court, “[i]t is undisputed that the rail project has a ‘high’ likelihood of having a potential effect on archeological resources….”
Cayetano stated in his letter that “in the event the archeological study discovers massive iwi and burial sites in the path of the current rail route, significant changes may have to be made. By allowing the design and construction work to continue the City is running up millions of dollars in costs–costs that will ultimately have to be borne by the taxpayers of Honolulu.”
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“The decision to stop construction comes hours after Honolulu mayoral candidate and former Gov. Ben Cayetano on Monday called for construction to stop on the rail project.”
“For all intents and purposes, construction of the project has been halted although there may be some narrowly tailored, low-impact exceptions.”
“It is our understanding that the City has halted construction of the rail project. The City would like to:
1. complete a few short-term tasks for public safety (e.g., backfilling a trench)
2. continue longer-term maintenance activities (
e.g., erosion control measures)
3. complete the archaeological survey.
The City is currently working on a list that would describe these activities with specificity. Attorneys for Paulette Kaleikini and the City are in discussions regarding whether any of these activities should be allowed to proceed.”
“Besides the maintenance facility site, KHON also did not see any major work going on in east Kapolei, as of this morning, where the pillars have been going up.”
“The city has agreed to temporarily halt all construction on the $5.26 billion rail project apart from some short-term tasks required for an orderly shutdown, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. said today.”