Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another Prediction for What's in Store with Honolulu's Rail

I am optimistic about the outcome of the lawsuit against Honolulu Rail in federal court. There was no such suit against the Silver Line addition to the Washington DC Metro. So the line is now under construction. These two excerpts from a recent article in New Geography are important:

  • While rail might seem like the most obvious solution, it is also by far the most expensive and slowest option. The price tag is staggering, and the rail extension will take years to construct. The better option would have been to make use of the existing roadways, and implement an expansive bus rapid transit system (BRT).
  • The 23 mile extension of the Washington Metro rapid transit system is forecast to cost $6.8 billion dollars; roughly $296 million per mile. The constant scramble to finance the over-budget project has resulted in more than one construction setback.

What's important is that this system is about the same length as Honolulu's, and it is heavy rail like Honolulu's. So despite the fact that its construction is relatively easy (in the middle of an existing toll road) compared to the nightmare of shoehorning elevated stations and guideways in densely populated Honolulu the cost is staggering and it will likely surpass $7 Billion.

Remember that the financial analysis report conducted for Governor Lingle said that the likely cost of Honolulu Rail will be $7.2 Billion.

So when mayor candidate Carlisle promised that he will "get Honolulu's financial house in order" what did he mean? The answer is clear: "Adding several Billions of new debt onto Honolulu's financial house."

I strongly suggest that you read the rest of the article linked above as it presents a most suitable solution for the Dulles connection and for Honolulu: Bus Rapid Transit on HOT lanes. Much better results are a much lower cost.