Monday, February 15, 2010

Honolulu Rail's Cost, Route and Ridership Opinions

President's Day 2010 brought a lot of interesting perspectives on the table for Honolulu's $5.3 billion proposed elevated rail line. None of them favorable.

Dr. Kioni Dudley of Makakilo offers his perspective about the proposed rail in the Honolulu Star Bulletin. These sentences from his article are particularly insightful:
  • This rail is not being built to solve current traffic problems. It actually is not even for us. It is being built to benefit developers.
  • The traffic problems it will solve are future problems, yet to be caused by people yet to move into homes yet to be built.
Cliff Slater of covers the costs of the proposed rail in his article published in the Honolulu Advertiser. "The city's rail project is not merely the largest public works project in Hawai'i. It will be the fourth most expensive of any post-1950 metro area rail system in the nation, exceeded only by Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles."

The article is great, but why should anyone read past its opening paragraph? Stop the insanity! should be the response. The fourth most expensive system in the US, proposed for an island paradise in the middle of the Pacific, with less than one million people. The governor should stop this grave error and refuse any approvals for it.

Finally Shawn Hao of the Honolulu Advertiser uses soft language but reveals other parts of the insanity in yet another well-researched article.
  • The benefit of the proposed rail: "Honolulu's planned rail line from East Kapolei to Ala Moana is expected to boost public transit use by about 1 percentage point by offering faster, more reliable service than buses." [Would you pay five billion to receive a 1% reduction? Follow Mufi and you will.]
  • The dropping ridership of TheBus. [I have plotted the statistics that Hao quotes from the Hawaii Data Book below. Transit ridership is on a steady downhill. But we keep buying more buses...]
  • The City's attitude: "We don't care what the Mainland is doing," Honolulu Transportation Director Wayne Yoshioka said.
Ainokea is right Mr. Yioshioka.

For the record, I see the numbers and Aikea.