Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Honolulu Traffic Lights: 12 Minutes for One Half Mile in Waikiki!

On Good Friday I had the opportunity to observe the typical gridlock traffic conditions of a busy Friday in Waikiki.  Then I found a perfect object to monitor.  An articulated (bendy) city bus with the number 154 stencilled on its roof. I tracked it as it motored along on Kalia Street, made a left turn onto Saratoga Street and eventually crossed Kalakaua Avenue and disappeared from my view.

The total distance from the Hale Koa hotel to Kalakaua Avenue is 0.55 miles.  An acceptable speed for buses is 7 miles per hour including stops so this distance would have taken 4.7 minutes.

Bus 154 took 6 minutes to reach Saratoga at an average speed of 3 mph, and took another 6.5 minutes to cross Kalakaua Avenue at an average speed of 2.3 mph which is much slower than walking speed for most people (3.1 mph according to Google.)

Fantastically, a day earlier I get a call from KHON2 News. They wanted my opinion on the city's
new multimillion dollar proposal to synchronize its traffic lights.  So I marvel at the fact that instantly upon getting elected to City Council, Stanley Chang knew that rail will be Oahu's savior for traffic congestion.  (I met him and he told me that.) Yet it took Stanley three years and a candidacy for U.S. Congress to figure out that Honolulu's traffic signals work poorly and now he wants to fix all of them at once with a five million dollar study!

Ineffective hyperbola rules the day in Honolulu. A day before the traffic project announcement, the president of HART promised to deliver 10 miles of elevated rail with ten stations and operating trains 36 months from April 2014.  I'll bet him $36,000 that this is NOT possible!

What can I say?  We certainly need more lawyers like Kirk Caldwell (Mayor), Stanley Chang (City Council), Ivan Lui-Kwan (HART president) and Mike Formby (City Transportation Director) in charge of Oahu traffic and mobility. All blah-blah and promises while traffic and buses crawl at 3 miles per hour.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Modern" Light Rail: Worth the Investment?

The answer comes quickly in the introduction of this well-researched article in The Atlantic Cities: No!

  • Five U.S. metros (Buffalo, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Jose) opened light rail systems in the 1980s to great fanfare. 
  • Portland became transportation models for the country, pointing toward a transit-friendly urban future.
  • Based on the decisions to build these projects, which were made by hundreds of local officials and often endorsed by residents through referenda, you might think that the experience building light rail in the 1980s had been unambiguously successful. 
  • Yet it doesn't take much digging to find that over the past thirty years, these initial five systems in themselves neither rescued the center cities of their respective regions nor resulted in higher transit use — the dual goals of those first-generation lines.
  • According to an analysis of Census data, in four of the five cities with new light rail lines, the share of regional workers choosing to ride transit to work declined.
Read the article: The Perfect Commute: Have U.S. Light Rail Systems Been Worth the Investment?

Monday, April 7, 2014

U.S. Infrastructure Projects Cost Way More Than They Should, Explained

The Atlantic Cities magazine published a condensed analysis of seven main reasons that explain why U.S infrastructure project cost more than elsewhere. They are:

 1. Davis-Bacon Laws: Passed in 1931, the Davis-Bacon Act mandates that laborers for federal public works projects receive local prevailing wages. (+22%)

2. Project Labor Agreements: In 2009, President Obama signed an executive order mandating that contractors for federal projects exceeding $25 million sign Project Labor Agreements, which guarantee the hiring of union workers. (+13~15%)

3. 'Buy America' Provision: For decades, this provision has discouraged projects from being built with manufactured goods made outside the U.S. Obama strengthened it in the 2009 stimulus package to include projects besides just highways. (+10~500%)*

4. Lengthy Environmental Reviews. (+10~25%)*

5. Transportation Alternatives Program: Everyone can agree that walking trails, complete streets, historic renovations, landscaping, and bike lanes are public goods, but should they be paid for with highway fund money? This is the current policy of the FHWA. (+5~20%)*

6. Administrative Costs: Currently, U.S. transportation revenue is like a boomerang, going from the states to Washington and back. Naturally, this process adds bureaucratic costs. (+10%)*

7. Toll Bans: Although tolls exist along some stretches of interstate, they are generally not permitted by the federal government. This has stripped the government of a key revenue source that could be used for repairs, and for cheaper borrowing. (+10~50%)*

Note: (*) Author's estimates.
SOURCE: 7 Reasons U.S. Infrastructure Projects Cost Way More Than They Should

Friday, April 4, 2014

2010-2013 U.S. Metropolitan Area Changes

This domestic migration three year snapshot indicates that Americans are moving out of Democrat, cold and mismanaged cities with expensive transit systems to Republican, warm and business-friendly cities with small or medium transit systems.  Smart!

See more in New Geography: Special Report: 2013 Metropolitan Area Population Estimates

Monday, March 31, 2014

Hawaii's Electric Company Suffers National Humiliation (Forbes)

On September 6, 2013 Hawaiian Electric Company or HECO changed the rules for connecting solar systems. Based on DBEDT data, the number of residential permits in December 2012 were 2,452.  With the new rules in effect, the number of residential permits in December 2013 were 1,218, a 50.3% reduction.

FORBES:  A Hawaiian utility has tried to slow the growth of solar. In December, Hawaiian Electric Company shut down rooftop solar installations, citing “grid stability.”

“That’s another bullshit argument,” said Chu, a Nobel Prize winning physicist who served as energy secretary from 2009 to April, 2013. Solar installations don’t threaten grid stability until they approach 20% of the customer base, Chu said. In Hawaii solar is at 2%.

(Hawaiian Electric disputes Chu’s 2% figure, and spokeswoman Lynn Unemori says the company has not halted solar installations, but has adopted “a more cautious approach to applications for new PV systems on circuits with a large amount of PV already installed, solely for reasons of safety and reliability.” ) END QUOTE

But Roy Skaggs of Alternate Energy, Inc. won't let Lynn's "word-smithed" response stand:


To quote Mr. Chu above, that’s a bullshit response. The only thing I agree with you on, is that rooftop solar has exceeded 2%. The rest of your canned response is the same vomit regurgitated by Scott Seu and sadly what we have been sometimes even seeing from the PUC. HECO has blocked many people, including ones who you were supposed to grandfather. This “approving new installations daily” statement is so exaggerated that you would have to work for HECO to believe it. But hey, I guess if you approve 1 installation a day and block 20, then you can get away with that line!

How can you say HECO “strongly supports” PV? Since September, the entire industry has been cast away by HECO. How many hundreds of lost jobs and millions of dollars does it take before HECO admits they do not support anything but their own profit margins? You have hundreds of customers stuck in limbo for months who signed contracts and committed to PV before Sept 6th, and HECO has still not resolved those poor families troubles. Many are paying bank loans AND HECO!

And let’s talk for a second about this “grid saturation” that HECO holds onto and tries to pass off as truth. Scott Seu admitted in front of Senators and Representatives in October that there are grids over 200% DML. Where are the voltage spikes of record? Surely, with such “unsafe” levels, HECO would have examples to provide, right? The newest delay HECO is pushing is something already in place. The inverters being used by most, if not every single company, have protection in place from the bogus claims of “voltage spikes” that HECO has been spewing. These fast trip invereters are there and have been there. So why are solar companies just now getting word to provide proof that the inverters do indeed have this in place? We have been telling you they do for months.

What is HECO’s next delay tactic? The jig is up. More and more news outlets and industry professionals, like Mr. Chu, are calling you on your bullshit. If HECO doesn’t work with solar and the customers who want it, you will soon go the way of the land line.

How can a monopoly tell hard working Americans that they cannot capture the free sun on their own rooftops? You can’t. This is a losing battle for HECO. Innovate or go extinct.

Roy Skaggs

PS--Also recall that HEI president Connie Lau lead Move Oahu Forward... the big bucks lobby that is inflicting heavy rail on Oahu.

Monday, March 24, 2014

HECO's Renewable Watch

Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) has launched a website which displays in near real time the generation of electric power on each Hawaiian island by solar (photovoltaic or PV) and wind renewable energy: Renewable Watch.

Shown below is the image for the Island of Oahu caught at the time of this post...

At this instance at 11:54 AM, solar PV is making 142 MW whereas wind is making 58 MW.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bicycling Safety Through the Eyes of TOP GEAR

TOP GEAR is an internationally syndicated car show of the BBC.  They specialize in both admiring and mocking all forms of transportation, with an emphasis on (super)cars.

In March 2014 they aired their "serious" TV adverts, as they call them, in response to calls by the City of London to improve bicycle safety.

You can search the web for the "outrage" the TOP GEAR TV ads caused.  Here is a sample from The Oregonian.

They are funny and they do have a bit of a point as well.  Enjoy the TOP GEAR YouTube threesome:
  1. Green, Red: Learn the Bloody Difference
  2. Act Your Age
  3. Work Harder. Get a Car.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Driverless Cars? Yes, GoogleCar, iCar, etc. are Closer than they Appear

No need for a driver's license?

Will the blind drive? 

Is this the end of accidents and insurance payments?

Will a multilingual automated car replace the taxi and handi-van?

Well, not so fast. Driverless cars are a Pandora's box of opportunities and challenges. One thing is for certain: They are coming.  First in simple versions; later on, in completely automated versions.

For example, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Nissan and VW plan to offer 2016 model year cars that do at least half of these: braking and  throttle control (e.g., Delphi adaptive cruise control), self driving in stop-and-go traffic (e.g., BMW's traffic jam assistant), lane keeping (e.g., Toyota's lane keeping assist), gear shifting, and, if legal, unoccupied self-parking after all occupants and the driver exit the car (e.g., Audi's parking demonstration.)

Goggle has developed ten Google Driverless Cars (see sample photo) that have clocked well over 300,000 miles on California roads with only two reported accidents: One when the car was read-ended at a stop light and another near Google headquarters while driven by a person.  Google has produced a short video that shows a man driving around, picking up some food at a drive through store and arriving at home, opening his door and then extending his blind person cane to find his way to his house! Google expects sales of regular cars modified by Goggle to be drivereless in 2018. (Take a look at this CNN infographic.)

These developments cannot come soon enough because US, European, Chinese and other developing world cities are chocking in traffic.  Driverless cars will be a large part of the solution. They can follow each other at a distance of 0.5 seconds (engineers call this “headway”) instead of the average human headway of 1.5 seconds. This difference from 1.5 to 0.5 seconds of headway triples the capacity of a freeway lane from 2,200 vehicles per hour to over 6,000 vehicles per hour.

Sometime between 2030 and 2040, drivereless cars will become prevalent with more than one third of them in traffic. Then selected highways and arterial streets can be converted to driverless car highways with 8 ft. wide instead of 12 ft. wide lanes because driverless cars can adhere to a tight lane discipline.

The combination of tight lanes and close headways will have huge impacts to roadway capacity. Today two lanes on the Pali Highway have a capacity of roughly 4,500 cars per hour.  With only driverless cars on them the capacity of the same exact roadbed would be about 20,000 cars per hour. More than four times improvement; this will result in continuous 50 mph traffic flow. No congestion.

The driverless car technological innovation cannot come soon enough. For all but four U.S. cities (Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.) city transportation is done in private cars, vans and trucks 85% of the time or more. Telecommuting has already surpassed the share of trips by transit. Car-sharing, and intelligent, drivereless zero emission vehicles will maintain the car’s dominance here and abroad.

But before completely driverless car become ubiquitous, self parking cars will arrive.This will have a huge impact for complete parking lots because now a couple feet of clearance is required between cars for driver access.  The self-park cars will only need a couple of inches of clearance between their folded exterior mirrors. So the large parking structure at the University of Hawaii holding about 5,000 can easily store 6,000 much to the improved convenience of students and a few hundred thousand more dollars of revenue for the UH.

Recently there were rumors that a Tesla Cars-Apple Computer "affair" may be about a future (autonomous) iCar.

I have little doubt that thirty years from now my kindergartener son and his friends will be commuting in driverless electric sports cars that can reach 0-60 mph in 5 seconds, follow at a headway of under 0.5 seconds on narrow high capacity lanes, be a full office away from home or work, and still deliver an exciting drive in off-drivereless mode outside the city.  The future of transportation in the U.S. will be great as long as it does not invest on modes of the past millennium such bicycles and ordinary trains, except for limited applications where they may be both practical and cost-effective.

A shorter version of this article was originally published on February 15, 2014 in Hawaii's Filipino Chronicle.

Monday, March 10, 2014

"Get People Out of Cars" vs. Drivereless Cars

My opinion printed on pages 10 of the March 2014 issue of the ITE Journal.

Mr. Schwartz’s call for making the transportation engineer relevant is important. Sharing this realization, I ran twice for Mayor of Honolulu on an infrastructure preservation and traffic congestion relief platform and I garnered almost 20% in both 2008 and 2010.  Mr. Schwartz' advise to transportation engineers is good except for his instruction to “get people out of cars.” New York City may boast that 70% of commutes occur on non-auto modes, but it’s an exception. The next U.S. city with a low auto-mode share barely has 30% of commutes occurring on non-auto modes. Telecommuting is surpassing transit. Car-sharing, and intelligent and autonomous zero emission vehicles will maintain the auto mode’s dominance.

In 30 years or so, my kindergartener son and his cohorts will be commuting in driverless electric cars that can reach 0-60 mph in 5 seconds, follow at a headway of under 0.5 seconds on narrow high capacity lanes (some four lane urban highways will convert to automated guideways with six 8 ft. lanes), be a full office away from home or work, and still be exciting to drive in off-drivereless mode outside the city.  The future of transportation engineering in the U.S. will be great as long as we do not expend substantial resources on modes of the past millennium such bicycles and ordinary trains, except for limited applications where they may be both practical and cost-effective.

Panos D. Prevedouros, PhD
Professor of Transportation Engineering
University of Hawaii at Manoa
President of Hawaii Highway Users Alliance
Chair of Freeway Operations Simulation Subcom. (TRB AHB20)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Ken Orski: A 21st Century Approach to Transportation Funding

As states acquire more familiarity with credit transactions and develop more capacity to pursue public-private partnerships, and as federal budgetary constraints continue, long term financing of new transportation facilities and of multi-year reconstruction programs could become the states’ primary method of expanding and modernizing aging infrastructure. At the same time, states' growing fiscal independence points to a new approach to funding the nation's transportation needs in the 21st century. 

In this prospective new model, routine highway maintenance and system preservation would continue to be funded on a pay-as-you-go basis with current state and local tax revenue as supplemented with federal-aid highway dollars from the Highway Trust Fund . However, capital-intensive multi-year reconstruction programs and new capacity expansion projects ---investments that are beyond the states' fiscal capacity to fund out of current revenue --- would be financed largely through public-private partnerships employing long-term credit and availability payments. 
Provision of credit would remain a shared responsibility of the public and private sectors. Private Activity Bonds, the TIFIA program and State Infrastructure Banks would continue to serve as the main public sources of credit assistance while additional public credit facilities could be created, if need be, to handle a growing backlog of reconstruction needs. Potential candidates include Sen. Mark Warner's National Infrastructure Financing Authority (IFA) and Rep.John Delaney's $50 billion American Infrastructure Fund (AIF). The latter proposal would capitalize the AIF by selling bonds to U.S. companies. In exchange for purchasing the bonds, companies would be able to repatriate a portion of their overseas earnings tax-free. (A somewhat similar approach forms part of Rep.Camp's tax reform proposal).

The Highway Trust Fund--- freed from the obligation to fund new infrastructure and large  reconstruction programs on a cash basis---would be placed on a more stable financial footing, while an ample supply of long-term credit ---both public and private---would reduce the need for contract authority and multi-year transportation authorizations. Meanwhile, states and localities would gain more independence to plan and fund infrastructure improvements on their own terms, free of excessive federal regulatory oversight.
It's a highly plausible answer in our judgment to the nation's search for a long-term solution to the infrastructure funding problem.  

Earlier versions of this commentary were presented at the Transportation Research Board workshop,  "States are leading the charge on transportation revenue initiatives," January 12 2014; at the Conservative Policy Summit of the Heritage Foundation on February 10, 2014; and in a Governing magazine interview dated February 27, 2014.

Kenneth Orski
Innovation NewsBriefs (celebrating our 25th year of publication)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Free transit: A case study from Estonia

SOURCE: Free public transit in Tallinn is a hit with riders but yields unexpected results

In January 2013, Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, did something that no other city its size had done before: It made all public transit in the city free for residents.

Researchers at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden found modest results.
  • They calculated an increase in passenger demand of just 3 percent — and attributed most of that gain to other factors, such as service improvements and new priority lanes for buses. In their analysis, free pricing accounted for increased demand of only 1.2 percent.
  • Traffic speeds in Tallinn had not changed — a sign that drivers were not shifting over to riding transit as intended.
  • If any modal shift is happening, it’s that some people are walking less and riding transit more.
All this at a city with far lower income and far lower auto ownership than most of the EU and the US.  Meanwhile fare box revenues have been lost.

Bottom line: Free public bus fares are a losing proposition even in transit dependent first world cities.

By the way, this was a Social Democrat proposal that, once a suitable mayor was elected, went to effect.
January, Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, did something that no other city its size had done before: It made all public transit in the city free for residents. - See more at:

Household Electricity and Solar Panels

This brief analysis is a simple case of a picture is worth one thousand words.

The GREEN line is our house's monthly electricity consumption which averages about 450 kilo-watt-hours or KWh.

The ORANGE line is our house's monthly solar panel electricity production which averages about 250 KWh.

To make them directly comparable both averages were normalized to the level of 100. Also these were further smoothed to account for HECO's accounting variability because some monthly bills include as few as 28 days or as many as 33 days. So power consumption was estimated on a per day basis and then converted to a monthly basis.

What is there to observe?  Simply that the solar (renewable electricity) production profile is not at all in tune with our household's monthly electricity consumption. Humid days call for more A/C use, Christmas celebrations call for more lights and cooking, summer months take us to vacations or time away from home, but the sun's trajectory and cloud density do not follow any of these habits.

The lesson on a grand scale is that a city, state or country cannot possibly depend on renewables such as wind and sun for more than a small fraction such as 10% for its power generation because of significantly negative productivity, health and safety implications.

One must be a great fool to believe that the large deviations shown in the graph (which can be extreme on an hour-by-hour basis) can be covered by ... batteries.

On the other hand, renewables from geothermal, nuclear and tidal wave harnessing are in a different class and can offer base-load reliability that covers the fluctuating needs of a large population concentration. But even them they need supplementation by true base load power generation from nuclear, coal, oil or natural gas power plants. As mentioned in an earlier article, waste-to-energy for Maui, natural gas for Oahu and geothermal power plant development on the Big Island are best near term choices for Hawaii.

Friday, January 24, 2014

What do Americans Think About Federal Tax Options to Support Trasportation?

A long term study at the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University contains a number of interesting findings:
  • A majority of Americans would support higher taxes for transportation—under certain conditions. For example, a gas tax increase of 10¢ per gallon to improve road maintenance was supported by 67% of respondents, whereas support levels dropped to just 23% if the revenues were to be used more generally to maintain and improve the transportation system.
In other words, people are tired of potholed and rutted pavements.  Fix it and stop the "system" talk which in most cases are more union bureaucracies or projects custom-set for special interests and favors.
  • With respect to public transit, the survey results show that most people want good public transit service in their state. In addition, two-thirds of respondents support spending gas tax revenues on transit. However, questions exploring different methods to raise new revenues found relatively low levels of support for raising gas tax or transit fare rates.
See the point below. Most people want "good transit" because they think it costs a couple bucks per trip whereas the reality is much different and nationally the cost per trip on transit is over $10. How many people in San Francisco know that large portion of BART is over 30 years old and its refurbishment requires over $3 Billion?
  • Not all respondents were well informed about how transit is funded, with only about half knowing that fares do not cover the full cost of transit.
I think that "about half" is a huge underestimation.  Only a small fraction of Honolulu's population knows that the average trip revenue on TheBus is about $1.50 but the actual average cost per trip is over $6.00.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Preserving the American Dream: Lessons in Beating Boondoggles

A summary by Gini David.

In late October, I attended the Preserving the American Dream conference in Washington DC, sponsored by the American Dream Coalition (ADC,, a  coalition that promotes freedom, affordable home ownership, property rights, and mobility. To combat big government boondoggles, the ADC provides strategic and tactical counsel from planning experts like Randall O’Toole (Cato Institute), demographer Wendell Cox, ADC’s executive director Eileen Bruskewitz, transit expert Tom Rubin, ethics analyst and writer Stanley Kurtz, and others.


What’s more, Panos Prevedouros, a professor of transportation engineering at the University of Hawaii, told the ADC audience that rail projects are rife with corruption and fraud, quoting   Bent Flyvbjerg, the renowned Chair of Large Program Management at Oxford University:  “Rail projects are the projects most fraught with delusion and deception.” As Prevedouros explained, “Deception because proponents lie to constituents and overstate ridership and understate costs.  And delusion because proponents believe that their projects are better and different than other failures from the past.”

Friday, January 10, 2014

Honolulu Traffic Contraflow Operations

The Honolulu Civil Beat article Finding the City's Flow: Why Honolulu's Traffic Goes Against the Grain summarizes the state of contraflow in Honolulu. Contraflow on lanes during peak traffic periods is a practice that is used extensively both by the city and state transportation agencies to squeeze more capacity out of the lane-deficient road network of Honolulu.

I wish that the city had actually something more useful to say. Their comment about potential future contraflows on Dillingham Blvd. and King St. is borrowed from my mayoral campaigns during which I promoted these ideas. At least they are on record that the rail won't reduce the need for contraflow lanes.

The city's practice of using crews and cones is relatively risky for the crew, and expensive. The photo is from the Honolulu Star Bulletin newspaper in an article dated Tuesday, August 24, 1999.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

AIKEA FOR HONOLULU No. 33 – American History 2000-2016: Early Summary of the Barack Bush* Era in 200 Keywords

  • 9/11, Al-Qaeda, Taliban and IEDs.  Patriot Act, TSA, Homeland Security, drones. WikiLeaks and the Snownden-NSA leaks.
  • Appointed Czars: Bush 33, Obama 38.  Executive orders: Bush 146, Obama 147. (First term only.)
  • TEA Party and Occupy Wall Street. Universal Health Care (Obamacare) and Sequester. Debt ceiling.
  • Bailouts and cash-for-clunkers.  Retro cars: Mini, VW Beetle, PT Cruiser, Chevy SSR, Toyota GT86.
  • Big Presidential lies: “Saddam has WMDs” and “You can keep your plan.”
  • So long Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs and space shuttle.
  • Gates Foundation. Gay marriage. GMO labeling.
  • Kyoto protocol, and (less) global warming.
  • “Smart Growth” and “Livability” = Pack people in condos and trains. U.N. Agenda 21.
  • I-35W bridge collapse. D grade for Infrastructure. Hurricane Katrina, BP Deepwater Horizon.
  • Green energy black holes: Electric car/Fisker, solar/Solyndra, corn ethanol and wind farm subsidies.
  • Oil at $147/barrel in mid-2008. Frack it! Natural gas to the rescue. Keystone XL pipeline.
  • Infrastructure finance, PPP, open road tolling, road concession, EZPASS, HOT lanes.
  • Google car and Google glass. Toyota Prius, Twitter, and tablets. Nanotechnology, carbon fiber, and composites. 
  • Boom: Android, Bitcoin, e-cigarettes, iMac, iBook, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Made in China, Marijuana,  Facebook, Lipitor, Smart Phones, Tesla car, Viagra.
  • Bust: AOL, AltaVista, Pontiac, Plymouth, Lehman Brothers, BlackBerry, (?)
Around 2016: The Baby Boom social security and other social net overloading, the large pension underfunding of several states, and ObamaCare direct and indirect costs come to full bloom (and gloom.)

Notable International: The economies of BRICs and PIIGS *** No “Arab Spring,” Egypt, Syria and Benghazi *** ~270,000 dead by 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami *** 2004 Athens Olympics *** 3/11 Tsunami and Fukushima disaster in Japan *** Castro, Chavez, Gaddafi, Kim Jong-Il and Bin Laden gone *** So long Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela and supersonic passenger flight (Concorde) *** Full double-decker 550-850 passenger A380.

Notes (*): The Economist, Barack Hussein Bush, Dec 17th 2008 *** The Wall Street Journal, Barack Hussein Bush, June 5, 2009
PPP = public-private partnership (or P3)
BRIC = Brazil, Russia, India and China
PIIGS = Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain
This summary does not include Entertainment and Sports highlights.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Public and Private Versions of Solar Power, in Brief

Private version: The installation of photovoltaic panels to generate electric power utilizes unused rooftops and provides free building cooling. (Y. Hata Co., Honolulu, HI.)

Public version: The installation of photovoltaic panels to generate electric power wastes productive land, wastes taxpayer funds, and lies about sustainable green jobs; there aren't any. (DHHL, Kalaeloa, HI)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

AIKEA FOR HONOLULU No. 32 – Here’s Wishing for a Helmet Law and Jones Act Repeal

The magic of Fibonacci numbers. Simple series. Fascinating creations!

Biologist Mohamed Hijri brings to light a farming crisis no one is talking about: We are running out of phosphorus. (TED talk in French, subtitled.)
As 2013 comes to a close it is worth remembering that Honolulu's $5.2 Billion rail project is a testament of the power of government and special interests to get their way.  The Honolulu Civil Beat's multiple polls over the years show that the rail project never had a public approval of over 35%. Here’s a link to a slideshow summary I presented at the ADC conference in Washington, D.C. in mid-October.

My first transportation wish for 2014: Hawaii needs a motorcycle helmet law. It’s a no brainer! Just read these few lines about the impact of injuries of motorcyclists without helmets: “The helmet-less are distinctive, says Dr. Lori Terryberry-Spohr: they suffer ‘diffuse’ internal bleeding and cell death across large areas. Such patients typically run up $1.3 million in direct medical costs. Fewer than a third work again. A study of helmet-less bikers admitted to one large hospital, cited by the Centers for Disease Control, found that taxpayers paid for 63% of their care.”

My second transportation wish for 2014: Hawaii gets an exemption from the Jones Act which artificially inflates the cost of living for all of us. BusinessWeek observes that “when large container ships filled with bicycles and sleeper sofas leave China for the U.S., they don’t stop in Hawaii to unload cargo bound for that state before continuing to Los Angeles or Seattle.” Unfortunately status quo politicians such as Hirono, Schatz and Hanabusa are strong supporters of the Jones Act. And fake energy solutions. They cost Hawaii dearly … expensive gas, expensive power, expensive groceries, and extra taxation on everything for the rail.  Other than that, Hawaii Democrats are all about support for the little guy ;)

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for 2014!