Hawaii residents tour Honolulu Rail before special session begins
Sunday, Hawaii residents got a chance to weigh in on the rail.
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation invited the public to a viewing of the country's first fully-automated, driverless train.
"It's very impressive and I did not expect it to be this long." Said Hawaii resident Nora Nikido, after touring the train.
"We do this every few months and a lot of people take advantage of it. They are very impressed by what they see and appreciate the opportunity to come and view their train." Said HART’s Communication Director Bill Brennan.
Monday, state lawmakers will meet for a special legislative session to discuss funding for the project. The proposed bill would extend the general excise tax surcharge on Oahu through the year 2030.
Those who toured say it's something they believe could be well worth it.
"I feel that regardless what it costs, that it needs to get completed. With all that they've already built, it's senseless to say that we can't finish this project." Explained Hawaii resident Cindy Kobylanskie.
"I expect that it's going to take longer than what they say and it's going to cost more. That's reality." Said James Kobylanskie.
The bill also calls for raising the hotel room tax statewide by one percentage point through 2030.
"I've paid a lot more than 10%, 11% room tax when I go to other cities for conventions. So, it doesn't bother me that there's a possibility of raising that." Said local resident Richard Criley.
Brennan says the next step for the rail will be live testing of the rail cars beginning late next month or early October.
"We're going to electrify a part of the track in Waipahu, between the Waipahu Transit Center Station and the Westlock Station. We will be having the trains for the first time, run under their own power." Said Brennan.
The trains will be tested for acceleration and braking.