Honolulu officials celebrated a federal court ruling on the rail project Thursday that reduced the number of disputed recreational and historic site claims.

“This is a significant and positive ruling that narrows the litigation,” said Dan Grabauskas, executive director and CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

U.S. District Court Judge A. Wallace Tashima sided with the city and the Federal Transit Administration on most sites and with opponents of the rail project on others. In the end, the number of site claims dropped from more than 40 to fewer than 10.

The ruling on the defendants’ motions for partial summary judgment was the latest development in the federal lawsuit against the transit project.

The judge held that plaintiffs had no standing to challenge certain site evaluations with respect to Piers 10/11, the Pacific War Memorial Site, the Makalapa Navy Housing Historic District, the Hawaii Employers Council, the Tamura Building, Keehi Lagoon Beach Park, Queen Street Park and any other sties not mentioned in the plaintiff’s standing declarations, according to a city news release.

The court dismissed additional claims with respect to the Pearl Harbor Landmark and the Merchant Street Historic District because the plaintiffs had failed to properly raise their concerns during the environmental review process, the release states.

“The City’s PR release today that the Judge’s ruling is a ‘significant’ ruling is totally overblown,” said rail opponent Cliff Slater, with Honolulutraffic.com, the main plaintiff in the case. “What is ‘significant’ is that our most important claims that, a) the City/FTA did not properly evaluate transportation alternatives under either Section 4(f) or NEPA, and, b) our most important sites Chinatown, Aloha Tower, Dillingham Building, Native Hawaiian burials, etc., all remain in play.”

Other plaintiffs in the case include mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano, University of Hawaii law professor Randy Roth, nonprofit groups and other individuals.

In April, Roth said part of their lawyers’ plan was to narrow “4(F)” claims, as the historical sites are known under environmental laws.

The city hopes to have remaining claims dismissed. Oral arguments on that are set for Aug. 21.

Another lawsuit against the $5.2 billion rail project is focused on Native Hawaiian burials. That case is headed to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

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