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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 2:21 p.m., Friday, December 22, 2006

Transit vote postponed until next week

Advertiser Staff

A new route proposed by City Council budget chairwoman Ann Kobayashi prompted a delay in the long-awaited transit vote until next week.

The council voted 5-4 today to come back to consider the new proposal at 10 a.m. Tuesday. But with more than 115 people signed up to testify, the council decided to begin listening to testimony today.

The marathon hearing is expected to continue this afternoon.

Kobayashi is proposing two lines in the Kapolei area to help serve more residents.

However, residents say the last-minute change threatens to foul up the long-awaited approval of some form of transit.

Kobayashi wants to keep the "yellow line" that runs along Farrington Highway, the same route she favored last week. Today, she proposed adding a part of the "green line" favored by the 'Ewa community and Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

"We're trying to do what we can to help everyone," Kobayashi said. But because that change hasn't been on the council agenda for consideration, it forced a delay to allow public consideration of the latest change."

Even though the City Council is scheduled to meet again on transit, a decision on choosing a route may be delayed again next week because of rules that relate to the state sunshine law.

Maeda Timson, chairwoman of the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board, said the community has been pushing for relief for years. She worries that now when the commitment to start the long-debated project is needed, a new proposal threatens to derail the decision.

"We may have another train wreck," Timson said. "Give us the green to get things going."

Kobayashi said she's puzzled that the community wouldn't want more transit options like she is proposing.

Timson said the change just came too late, even though it may be well-intentioned. "Now, at the 12th hour, you're doing something different," she said.