Monday, March 21, 2016

Hawaii Struggles to Keep Rail Project From Becoming a Boondoggle

Major article about Honolulu's rail project in the Sunday New Your Times: Hawaii Struggles to Keep Rail Project From Becoming a Boondoggle.  In it I'm quoted as follows.

“It’s a disaster. In my view, we are worse than how we expected,” said Panos D. Prevedouros, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Hawaii, who has twice run for mayor opposing the project. “We were saying at the beginning we would be lucky if it could be done for $6.4 billion, and people thought we were close to lunacy. We are sitting here today, and we are now computing about $7.1 billion cost.”

“We have become numb to these numbers,” Mr. Prevedouros said. “But it’s very dear for a small place like us, with only like 400,000 taxpayers.”

I loved this part: As construction jams traffic and upends neighborhoods, a poll conducted in February by Civil Beat, a Hawaii news site, found an overwhelming number of respondents who said they either considered the rail plan a bad idea or were troubled by its progress. Just 15 percent of those polled called it a good idea.

Although the NYT did not take a position, it is imperative that Honolulu cuts its losses, terminates the project at the Middle Street Transit Center and, in the future, consider expansion west to Honokai Hale and the Ko'Olina resorts, including a large park and ride lot for the Waianae coast commuters.