Monday, December 12, 2011

Honolulu Rail is a White Elephant in the Jungle of Transportation Infrastructure

This slideshow explains why the proposed rail is a white elephant in the jungle of transportation infrastructure. Here is a short list of reasons:
  1. Honolulu has a severe traffic congestion problem, not a transit problem
  2. Honolulu is the most lane deficient medium/large metro area in the U.S.
  3. Honolulu's bus is good but is becoming increasingly unproductive due to added low density routes
  4. Voters with a tiny 50.6% "yes" margin approved light rail costing well under $5 Billion, not heavy rail costing well above $5 Billion
  5. Successful rail systems are networks in multimillion population cities not 20 miles of single line on a corridor of less than 600,000 people
  6. Proposed rail has an exorbitant cost per mile, per resident and per passenger... 2 to 3 times more than the hugely expensive Washington D.C. metro
  7. Ridership forecasts are outright ridiculous and of course the majority of the projected riders are current bus riders; also about one fifth of the riders projected for year 2030 have not been born yet
  8. Due to its huge construction costs, the proposed rail will absorb transportation funds for decades causing accumulated deterioration to the already mediocre roads and bus operations
  9. For the price of rail and its foreign and environmentally intrusive technology Honolulu can build enough congestion relieving infrastructure to achieve 20-minute commutes for 75% of its population
  10. 95% of Honolulu electric power comes from fossil fuel and thanks to utopian sun and wind policies dependence on oil for power will stay there for a long time
  11. Reversible express HOT Lanes is clearly the best solution for Honolulu given the prevailing high Bus and Carpool use rates, and huge AM and PM commuting demand peaks; small trains with a capacity of 300 will do very little to demand peaks and even less off peak
  12. The path to sustainability for Oahu requires HOT Lanes, Bus Rapid Transit, institutionalized TeleCommuting and expanded Bikeways but none of these are active projects
  13. Independent macroeconomic analysis has confirmed that the proposed rail has a huge negative surplus (benefits minus costs) over a 40+ year horizon
  14. Rail is unsustainable as a tax and energy black hole; Oahu has a $40 Billion funding liability and rail is the only discretionary project
  15. Adding insult to injury, it is so ugly ... (see slide 21)