As we've mentioned here before, the City & County of Honolulu has given the green light to a new public railway, described as "a 20-mile elevated rail line that will connect West O`ahu with downtown Honolulu and Ala Moana Center. The system features electric, steel-wheel trains capable of carrying more than 300 passengers each. Trains can carry more than 8,000 passengers per hour in each direction."
This evening, I spoke to the Waikiki Rotary about some of the legal issues that the rail project will involve, including eminent domain, environmental questions, and the relationship between the newly-created Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART), an agency within city government to oversee the project.
Here are some links on the topics I spoke about:
- Myths About the Honolulu Rail System and Eminent Domain - dispelling some of the more prevalent urban legends about the process
- 189 Properties in Transit's Path - a 2008 Advertiser story about the property owners on the business end of eminent domain
- The city's April 20, 2011 press release "City Submits Update to Rail Transit Financial Plan" - the latest facts about the project, at least as the city sees it
- From Honolulu Civil Beat a series of reports: start with Honolulu Rail Heading Right at Them (which includes some of our thoughts on the condemnation issues ("'At the end of the day, at least the way it's shaping up now, the taking of property for public transportation purposes is generally seen as one of those classic uses for eminent domain, provided there's no pretext for private business,' Thomas said."), then continue with Rail Could Force Out Church, Homes After 50 Years in Pearl City, then finish up with Aiea Businesses Unknowingly in the Path of the Train.