Advocates For Consumer Rights

The Honolulu Transit Project

July 11, 2016 update

Honolulu Rail Woes: YESTERDAY & TODAY – PART 1
By by Walter Heen, Ben Cayetano, Cliff Slater & Randall Roth


As time permits, we will be adding many more of our archived documents and photos related to Hawaii Advocates For Consumer Rights’ and my long personal history to try and see a practical, affordable mass transit system in Honolulu. Our direct involvement began in 1992 when AFCR joined with many others to organize and implement a public education campaign resulting in former Councilmember Rene Mancho changing her rail vote from “Yes” to No.” Her no vote literally stopped the train.

Although we’ll never know, my personal opinion as to why we were successful was because the rail proponents held many community presentations with large aerial photographs of the various stations with overlaid graphics depicting the massive station footprints. I attended all of these presentations and watched as people were literally stunned to see how overbuilt and intrusive the project indeed was. For example, the Moiliili station at University, King and Beretania put the entire intersection under concrete and obliterated the view plane.

Read the August 8, 2005 Honolulu Star-Bulletin article which provides a brief history of rail in Honolulu, including the turned Mancho vote HERE.

THe late Councilmember Dr. Duke Bainum

The late Councilmember Dr. Duke Bainum

How we came close to having the best
By Scott Foster

At the time of his death, the late Honolulu Councilmember, Dr. Duke Bainum was working directly with former Councilmember Charles Djou and others to stop what has become today’s massive Honolulu rail “boondoggle.” I was retained several times by Dr. Bainum during his admirable political career and we had finalized Advocating Accountability & Wise Transportation Solutions the very evening of his death on June 9, 2009. A media release was planned regarding a letter Bainum and Djou had sent to the US Department of Transportation. Read that telling letter HERE. Our Advocating Accountability & Wise Transportation Solutions document was to have been a part of that media release and the growing list of respected local organizations supporting Duke’s positions on mass transit. Bainum was a strong supporter of expanding Honolulu’s efficient bus system.

For what it’s worth, when Dr. Bainum died a full council vote was already scheduled. Council Chair Nestor Garcia proceeded with that vote only a few days after Duke’s passing. Without Duke’s vote, the result was a foregone conclusion. The one bright spot from that vote was, we were able to force the rail project to come back to the Council to seek approval for every bond request and that indeed continues.



The following white paper is posted on the excellent archives of Anyone wanting to know the full story of how Honolulu got into the  $10-Billion transit debacle should reference

Rene Mansho launched HART

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) was not established for any of the reasons given by our political establishment. The City Administration had proposed a Transit Authority ostensibly, “so we can take as much politics out of [rail] as possible.” And according to the Honolulu Advertiser, “it makes perfect sense.”

But it did not make sense to us. We said at the time, “The Administration has yet to make its case on the need for a Public Transit Authority. Elsewhere in the U.S. all the Transit Authorities we could find are established to deal with jurisdictional issues between neighboring counties. Honolulu may well be the only county in the U.S. that has its own transit authority. Until such time as we are given a reasonable explanation for the necessity for such an authority we should assume something untoward is afoot and therefore oppose it.” More HERE