The Hawaii State Supreme Court has decided in favor of Paulette Kaleikini, who accused the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) of not doing due diligence in performing archaeological surveys along the entire route of the proposed rail line before beginning construction. Kaleikini, whose credentials remain entirely unclear to me, claims to have ancestors buried in Kaka’ako, a major site of ancient Hawaiian burials through which the rail line is proposed to run.
The politics are complicated, but, in short, construction is now stopped, and will be delayed by at least five to seven months; the Hawaii Reporter (which, incidentally, I had never heard of before) says that if any burials are found, and I am sure there will be, the project might be delayed by as much as 18 months. All of this is costing the taxpayers even more money, which I’m sure doesn’t make people happy – especially when so many people were opposed to the project originally on the basis of the vast cost to taxpayers. On the other hand, there seems some disagreement as to whether or not the project could be scrapped entirely, or whether it will push forward no matter what. I wonder how much pressure it would take to get them to scrap this route and do a completely different route, servicing a different part of the island.