City releases supplemental EIS on rail project

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Jun 06 2013 06:20:00 PM HST

Six months ago a federal judge ordered the city to go back to the drawing board on two issues: How the rail project would impact a historic Kakaako park, and to revisit the Beretania street tunnel option for the rail route- Today, the city released it's report.

HONOLULU -

The new study takes a closer look at the Beretania street tunnel that would take the train inland to the University of Hawaii Manoa campus, rather than the Ala Moana Shoppping Center.

The HART report points out that an underground tunnel would impact historic structures with potential soil settling and damage to buildings along the way.

"The Beretania tunnel which they studied for the first time in depth would go to Manoa instead of Ala Moana. For some reason the city didn’t want to do that before and doesnt want to do that now. They said the Beretania tunnel would be feasible, but not prudent," said Univerisity of Hawaii Law professor Randy Roth.

The study cites lower ridership, compared to the center option.

It also looked at how the elevated guide ways would impact the historic Mother Waldron Park--a half a block of grassy space with art deco structures that are protected.

 "It is going to have an obviously negative impact. They are saying we cant move it this way. We can't move it that way," said Roth.

 Roth says it remains to be seen whether the court will finds the suplemental enviromental impact study acceptable enough to give the green light on construction.'

But rail opponents prefer to hang their hat on an upcoming 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing in August on their lawsuit to stop the project in its tracks.

 "We think we will prevail there and that will cause the city to redo the whole thing," said Roth.

 The public is being encouraged to weigh in on the suplemental EIS. The deadline for comments is July 22.

There will also be a public hearing July 9th at the Blaisdell Center starting at 4 p.m.

 HART executive director Dan Graubauskas declined to comment on the study.

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