The recently passed 2-year transportation act of Congress which was signed by the president contains these golden nuggets for Honolulu:
1) ... the bill modifies the definition of Bus Rapid Transit projects to broaden the use of the program. BRT projects will now be classified and funded as ... Fixed Guideway
2) ... the bill allows three Fixed Guideway BRT projects to receive at least 80 percent federal funding share each fiscal year. These provisions provide a significant opportunity for communities seeking to invest in BRT
Source: Inside MAP-21: New Starts Transit Grants.
Significantly, part of the rail's guideway can be retained as express flyovers for buses. Based on the letter of the law, these flyovers can be used off-peak for other operations such as emergency, city services and other transportation services. The unsightly stations can be replaced with on/off ramps. Like the Harris BRT, there will be no need for an elevated guideway in the city core.
Now there shouldn't be any question as to what the right course of action for Honolulu is.