A groundbreaking ceremony took place last week that marked the start of work to build a $5.5billion commuter rail line between Honolulu and the West Oahu region of Hawaii.
The Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project has been the subject of great protest from environmental groups on the island. The plans for the project were passed in 2008 with 52% of voters in favour for the rail construction to go ahead.
The planned project will construct a 20 mile elevated rapid transit line and will use 200ft trains with a capacity of 300 people per train. The rail line is planned to have 36 stations along its route and is scheduled to open in five phases between 2012 and 2019.
Around 400 people attended the ceremony including politicians and business ‘heavyweights.’ Although protesters tried to attend the event, security kept them at a distance.
Hawaiian Mayor Peter Carlisle said: “Today is a celebration, the beginning of a project that will change how we travel, work, play and live.”
“This rail project was the effort of many people throughout the years. Rail will provide thousands of jobs for our local work force, relieve traffic congestion, improve mobility and pave the way for an exciting future for Oahu residents.”