Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Light Rail v. Prius OR Denver Post v. Honolulu Advertiser

This article from one of the members of the editorial board of The Denver Post is a breath of journalistic fresh air:

In the article it is made clear that light rail is more polluting that regular sedans and far more polluting than hybrid cars. In fact, that article is titled: Prius effect: Energy-efficient cars undercut the appeal of light rail.

Note that Denver produces electricity from coal and natural gas. Honolulu produces electricity from coal and diesel. Honolulu's electricity is dirtier than Denver's. Worse yet, Honolulu is proposing a massive heavy rail system that will be far more energy demanding than a light rail. Not only because the trains are larger, but because of the elevators, escalators and lighting of the elevated structure and stations. Add to that the huge energy draw for the construction of the massive project and compare it to laying rail on a street.

The article concludes as follows: "The Prius Effect means that unless Xcel weans itself dramatically from coal and natural gas, further expanding rail in metro Denver would be an outrage."

Now compare this Denver Post editorial opinion with the Honolulu Advertiser editorial opinions about rail. At best, the Advertiser opinions have been advertisements for elevated rail. Advertising elevated heavy rail for a Hawaiian island; for an island full of tourists who go mostly where the rail does not go; for Honolulu which is five times smaller than Denver; for Honolulu where a lot of people have multiple jobs and need a private mode to go from job to job; for Honolulu where students are driven to schools; for Honolulu's overtaxed population who is now asked to pay an extra $4,000 per head for rail.

I look forward to the Honolulu Advertiser editorial board, and other local media to catch up to the evidence presented by Sean Hao, Cliff Slater, myself and others as to what the rail proposed by Mufi Hannemann really is: Not pretty, not useful, not green, not practical, and a monumental waste of our money; now in order to build it and forever in order to
subsidize it.