HONOLULU - A long-simmering dispute over roads in Kakaako took a twist on Wednesday.

"It's my belief is that HART should not enter Kakaako until the private roads issue is resolved," said Rep. Scott Saiki whose district covers Kakaako,  Downtown Honolulu and, McCully.

Saiki tried to turn up the heat on the city by asking the agency that oversees Kakaako to put the brakes on access by the rail project.

"The city needs to enforce laws on these private roads, specifically the subdivision code that requires a landowner to get approval from the city before it creates commercial spaces on its property," said Saiki.

The private roads in question have been claimed by the Kakaako Land Company.  It has been charging people to park but has not done much to improve the roads.

Small businesses who cried extortion, have sued the company, as well as the city and state in an effort to get relief.  On Wednesday, the Hawaii Community Development Authority questioned whether HART should be allowed to do boring tests for the guide way since the route is being scrutinized in light of ballooning costs.

"You are asking us to approve something before you even have the final  approval from the higher ups at HART to say you can do this?" said HCDA board member Steve Scott.

But the board voted to allow preliminary planning work in Kakaako holding back on access for full construction.  The city's rail project is to come down Queen Street. HART said its begun condemnation proceedings offering one dollar on a portion of the disputed roads.

"We have order of possession so the imminent domain has been filed with the courts and it is with the heirs of Desky, not with the Kakaako Land Company so they have to prove they are the heirs of Desky," HART Deputy Director Brennan Morioka.

While the lawsuit makes its way through court, there is a bill on the Governor's desk that is awaiting action.  The measure is an attempt to clear up ownership of the roads in limbo.

Meanwhile Saiki says he's not heard back from the city on whether plans to take any action against the Kakaako Land Company.

“This is a public safety issue and the city should enforce the subdivision code. The city could begin to issue notices of violation today," said Saiki.

The city declined comment because of the lawsuit.