Lacking Support, Can Rail Backers Turn The Tide?

Adrienne LaFrance/Civil Beat

The primary election is about five months away, and the controversial Honolulu rail project is as unpopular as it's ever been.

The Civil Beat Poll revealed Monday that 55 percent of likely Honolulu voters oppose the project, versus 34 percent in favor. But political observers say that despite the opposition, rail is far from dead.

"The first thing is what's not going to happen. This is not going to stop it in any short-term kind of way," retired University of Hawaii political science professor Neal Milner told Civil Beat Monday.

There's no rail referendum on the ballot this year, and nothing on the horizon that's going to change that, he said.

"What is most likely to happen is that this will just intensify the anti-rail part of the campaign for mayor," Milner said.

Former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano has made his opposition to rail a central plank of his platform, though he insists he's not a one-issue candidate.

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