"Officials with the Honolulu Chapter of the American Institute of Architects want the city to look at building the transit system near ground level in portions of downtown to reduce its visual impact and potential cost.
But a Hannemann administration spokesman, Bill Brennan, said that in its review of a route through Honolulu in 2006, the City Council decided to select a system that includes an elevated rail."
"...Okino said the system is similar to the elevated rail operated by the Vancouver Skytrain, an operation established in 1986 that has been so successful it "pays for itself."
He said elevating the rail allows the system to be fully automated and reduces the cost of operation tremendously.
At stake is a projected $5.4 billion rail transit system from East Kapolei to Ala Moana, $1.4 billion of which would be paid by the federal government and the remainder by the city.
The city plans to break ground for the project by the end of this year and is receiving comments about a draft environmental impact statement for the rail system."