Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty


A Question of Suit-Ability by maliab
April 10, 2011, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Hawaii Sunshine | Tags: , , ,

by Malia Hill

Is it too soon to start calling the Honolulu rail project “embattled”?  If so, then just consider us a bit avant-garde.

Of course, it would have been nice had the serious movement against the looming economic debacle otherwise known as the Honolulu Light Rail had started a little earlier and before we had even entered on any commitments on it.  But if this has to be done on local time, so be it.  Better late than never.  Already, I’ve found myself forced to say nice things about former Governor Cayetano for his stand against the rail project, and I thought that would never happen.  (The thinking nice thoughts about Cayetano that is, not the fact that he took that position.  It’s still a shocking moment for me though.  It forces me to consider the possibility that I may one day have a compliment for Governor Lingle.  Maybe.)

Anyway, there is now a lawsuit being filed against the rail project by HonoluluTraffic.com.  Like most lawsuits over ill-considered government action, it can be a tad difficult to follow for those who are easily bored by impenetrable legalese.  Fortunately, however, Hawaii Reporter has published a Layman’s Guide to the lawsuit that sums up the case against the project (on the grounds that it violates a federal law against transportation projects that threaten cultural assets):

The statute began as a response to the highly unpopular intrusion of federally funded elevated freeways into the sensitive historic sections of the nation’s cities over 60 years ago.

Congress responded to the public outcry by passing section 4(f) of the 1966 Transportation Act to ensure that historic properties and other cultural assets were fully taken into account in the planning of transportation projects and to avoid them if at all possible.

In short, the Honolulu rail project is the type of project that 4(f) was legislated to prevent.

. . . .

Note that the City cannot avoid the burial sites unless they know their locations, which are presently unknown.

That is why an archeological survey of the full corridor is necessary before City can legally make decisions on technology and routes. And the City cannot weigh the possibilities of a possible alternative that could avoid the historic properties if it eliminates all but one alternative.

Therefore our lawsuit will ask the Court to direct the City to “Rigorously explore and objectively evaluate all reasonable alternatives … Devote substantial treatment to each alternative considered in detail including the proposed action so that reviewers may evaluate their comparative merits … Include reasonable alternatives not within the jurisdiction of the [City] “and to perform an Archeological Inventory Survey to determine the locations of native Hawaiian burial sites in the Corridor.

Only then can the City legally determine the “environmentally preferable alternative.”

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1 Comment so far
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This monstrosity needs to be stopped! If it takes remains of Hawaii’s ancestors to do it, then so be it. Thanks for all you’re doing.

Comment by giliar




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