By Laurie Au
Gov. Linda Lingle, who earlier supported having the public vote on the city’s $4 billion rail transit system, said yesterday she has not decided if she will vote to approve the project.
With just two weeks left until Oahu voters cast their vote on a proposed City Charter amendment to continue Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s vision for an elevated 20-mile “steel wheel on steel rail” system, Lingle said she hasn’t been convinced that the city can afford it.
“I still don’t know how I”m going to vote on Election Day,” Lingle said, speaking to reporters in her office for the first time yesterday after her trip to the mainland to campaign for Sen. John McCain. “What’s keeping me on making the final decision is the cost of it and whether or not I believe the people of Hawaii will afford it in the long term and I haven’t been convinced of that.
“That will be the deciding factor for me,” Lingle continued. “Will it be something that we can support or will it be a financial burden for people that already have a high cost of living?”
Hannemann’s opponent, City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, introduced a mass transit plan to relieve traffic with an estimated cost of $2.5 billion. Lingle said she doesn’t know if state transportation officials had yet reviewed the plan.