Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Is Modern Oahu Like Ancient Greece?

As appeared in the Honolulu Star Bulletin and the Hawaii Reporter

Full of tyrants and myths? At least when it comes to rail, yes!

Only a tyrant would tax people for a rail project years before the proposal has been found to be environmentally acceptable and federally funded.

Only a tyrant would award contracts unlawfully for a project that has neither state nor federal environmental and other approvals.

Only a tyrant would manipulate the process in order to ignore superior and lower cost alternatives such as bus rapid transit and true light rail.

It is a myth that heavy rail is useful, green, can be built with current taxes or will ease congestion.

Fact is that this train will be least useful to families with kids, schoolchildren, the elderly, and the handicapped. It will serve less than 3% of the trips conducted daily on Oahu.

If New York City's rail network is excluded, because it alone carries 60% of all rail passengers in the nation, then the remainder of the U.S. rail systems are worse green house gas generators than cars. Much worse than hybrid cars.

There are fewer than five miles of elevated freeways in urban Oahu. The rail will be a 36 mile continuously elevated superstructure. And it will destroy what’s left of prime agricultural land.

Zeus would be proud of Oahu's tyrants and their myths. Fact is that Zeus never existed. This train should not exist either.

Panos D. Prevedouros, PhD
Professor of Civil Engineering