Three out of four Hawaii voters say they either feel that Oahu’s rail project is a bad idea, or that they are troubled by how it’s progressing.
A mere 16 percent of voters say they feel good about the $6.6 billion project, one marked by revenue shortages, construction delays and costs overruns.
And just 7 percent say they are unsure about how they feel, a figure that drops to 3 percent on Oahu exclusively. By now, it seems, most people have made up their minds when it comes to the controversial rail line.
The new Civil Beat Poll comes just as Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has signed into law a bill that extends until 2027 a 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge that pays for rail.
The construction that began in east Kapolei near the Kroc Center is approaching the six-mile mark on its way to a scheduled 20-mile completion at Ala Moana Center in 2021.
Forty-two percent of respondents to the latest poll said they supported rail before construction began in 2011, slightly less than those who said they initially opposed it.
“You are certainly seeing a fair level right now of buyer’s remorse, because there is a disruption without a benefit,” said Matt Fitch, executive director of Merriman River Group, which conducted The Civil Beat Poll. “I think that’s pretty normal for a big public works project.”
Rail has never polled very well in Civil Beat surveys.
In March 2012, for example, 55 percent of likely Oahu voters said they were against what was then a $5.2 billion undertaking.