FACT CHECK — Cayetano: Rail A Wall of Concrete Snaking Along Honolulu's Waterfront

Michael Levine/Civil Beat

Ben Cayetano made a point of not discussing the Honolulu rail project first when he announced his candidacy for mayor Thursday, Jan. 19.

But that doesn't mean he avoided the subject altogether.

Both in his remarks and in his answers to the questions that followed, Cayetano criticized the project and its architects.

The main thrust of his criticisms was on the cost of the system — $5.3 billion to build, according to the city, but $7 billion or more, according to a study he cited. He also repeatedly talked about what building the 20-mile line would mean for the host culture and the island's natural beauty.

"The elevated, massive, concrete structure will run along the waterfront, destroying forever the view planes of our beautiful city and changing its character for the worse," he said Jan. 19. He later called the project "ugly."

"It is irresponsible for us to burden them with huge debt and a city whose beauty is scarred by a wall of concrete snaking along its waterfront, running over ancient burial sites. Our future generations deserve better," he said in a press release put out by his campaign and in prepared remarks distributed to reporters at the announcement.

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