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Rail work apace with cultural, design improvements

By Dan Grabauskas and Ivan Lui-Kwan

LAST UPDATED: 11:17 a.m. HST, Nov 02, 2012

Building Oahu’s first urban transit system provides both the opportunity and the responsibility to do things right. While we may have missed the mark on occasion, we are increasingly working to do better, to do things with respect and by listening to Oahu’s diverse communities.

The Supreme Court ruling provides a lesson and an opportunity to go beyond what is required and to do what is right. We have responsibly accelerated the archaeological surveys and have completed more than 80 percent of the work required. We have managed to keep the project within budget, and while the recent court ruling has meant a temporary delay on some project work, we remain on track to complete construction on time. 

We are working closely with the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD), the Oahu Island Burial Council (OIBC), and cultural and lineal descendants on our protocol for caring for iwi kupuna — and that is working well. But we want to do more.

Partnering with the Native Hawaiian community must be an integral part of what we do. In the spirit of partnership, we have implemented a cultural monitoring program. While there are similar programs throughout the state, HART’s program is being designed to continue well beyond the archaeological survey work through construction.

All of our cultural monitors receive safety training and serve as on-site observers of our archaeological work. The monitors include descendants of those families from the ahupuaʻa in which the work is being done. And they help ensure the work is done carefully, properly and with respect. We believe it’s the right thing to do and fits with our goal of improving transparency projectwide.

Building a foundation of trust with all stakeholders and with the larger community is vital to the project’s success. We are dedicated to setting the right course, and enhancing Native Hawaiian participation in the survey work is just the beginning. We are also working with several Native Hawaiian organizations, from the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce to the leaders of Hawaiian homestead communities to Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners. We are in this together and for the long haul.

AS WE COMPLETE our survey work, we are continuing with design and engineering so we can hit the ground running when construction resumes next year. Train vehicles are being designed with 800 additional seats, and we will be back in the community to discuss our smaller, modular-designed stations.

As we move closer to the finish line, the project’s details have become clearer.

With the half-percent general excise surcharge in place bringing in more than $900 million in revenue thus far, and $1.55 billion federal funds expected soon, this project’s finances are on track and construction of the system will be paid for in full just three years after it opens.

The first half of the alignment will open in five years, with the entire system opening in 2019. In just seven years, we will have a safe, reliable transportation option that will be fast, efficient and easy to use. With trains arriving every three minutes during peak times, it will be convenient with no need for complicated schedules.

Rail is designed to serve as the backbone a complete transit system, which includes a more efficient bus system. A single two-car train holds the same number of passengers as more than five city buses. And with rail taking on the most heavily congested corridor, more buses can be deployed to areas currently underserved.

Because rail will be integrated with TheBus, fares for the rail system will be the same as the bus, and riders can use a single pass for both. A network of circulator buses will deliver passengers to stations; commuters can also park at one of four park-and-rides along the route.

We are closer than ever to making rail a reality. We are dedicated to being responsible and to protecting our island’s limited resources. Working together and listening to each other, we can build a better rail system and a better future for Oahu.

On vacation: “On Politics” columnist Richard Borreca is off today.

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Wazdat wrote:
COME ON. We CAN'T even FIX or MANITAIN what we have now. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS STATE ?????
on November 2,2012 | 03:25AM
Truther wrote:
Don't lament over what's already been wasted; worry about what's about to be flushed down the drain on a corrupt project that was always DOA.

VOTE for BEN and BERG and SAVE BILLIONS. $10,000,000,000.00 and Counting.

on November 2,2012 | 09:36AM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Good article by one of HART's native Hawaiian board members and its CEO, who has quickly adopted an appropriate and respectful attitude toward Hawaiian culture and traditional cultural practices. This project will incorporate a lot of input from the native Hawaiian community and other communities in the way the stations are designed and the development that will take place around the stations.

In addition to incorporating and expressing the Hawaiian culture, this project means jobs for the Hawaiian community. Many of those employed by the project at HART and by the contractors are native Hawaiian and those numbers will increase dramatically when construction resumes.

on November 3,2012 | 08:56AM
false wrote:
Nice article written with respect and regarding doing things right. RAIL got caught for interpreting the law to their benefit and got BUSTED. Covering your "you know whats" now. Nice try. Doesn't work for me!
on November 2,2012 | 03:34AM
Truther wrote:

I VOTED for BEN and BERG to SAVE BILLIONS from being wasted on the Rail CON JOB.

on November 2,2012 | 09:38AM
false wrote:
Those cement Swan Heads standing on the Ewa plain add nothing to island views. So already you lie and you dismiss the very essence of being unobtrusive by design. Give up and go home and take your towers with you. A ground level choo choo would have been a better fit with the environment and could have been a local pleasure as well as a solution. Wrong thinking as usual.
on November 2,2012 | 05:14AM
Malani wrote:
Face it Dan, if knew how to do your homework from the very begining this City wouldn't be facing the problems they are facing with now. Very poor planning is costing and will cost us more should this rail ever get off the ground and you stated that the cost to ride the Rail will be the same as the Bus. Nothing, and again, Nothing in Hawaii cost the same especially anytime delays are a factor. You said, 'As we move closer to the finish line, the project’s details have become clearer you said." WHAT? Is this a joke? Before you begin a job it is suppose to be clear from the beginning not as you move along. lol And if you forgot this rail is at a stand still and the only thing that is moving are the bones. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS STATE? aah, I know, time to change the Mayor Carlise to Ben Cayetano.
on November 2,2012 | 05:50AM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Obviously, you've never worked in the construction industry or on transportation projects. Details become clearer as projects move forward. A lot of work is underground and based on experience you have an idea of the what you may encounter and how much it could cost (that's your budget), but once you begin excavation, you find utilities that were unmarked, unstable soil that must be shored up while working, rock formations, etc. Cost of materials changes over the course of a project that lasts several years, depending on economic conditions. That's why financial reports are continuously refined and updated on all big projects.
on November 3,2012 | 09:09AM
DPK wrote:
BB: no excuse for ignoring an expected problem. The rush to push this project through is reflected in the poor judgement of those in charge. Their incompetence is costing the public millions. Greed triumphs over reason again.
on November 5,2012 | 03:13AM
rsgea wrote:
"Building a foundation of trust with all stakeholders and with the larger community is vital to the project’s success.

HUH?? So why have you failed to do this? Failed miserably!!

on November 2,2012 | 06:30AM
wondermn1 wrote:
on November 2,2012 | 07:42AM
Makua wrote:
I wish both Dan and Ivan well. This is not an easy project. Most comments center on cost and in-place visual. Adding the Ben factor and the Hawaiian trump card puts you in deep pilikia. Years back the transition from the termite palace, on King Street, to the now acknowledged Rust Bucket Stadium proved to many that the accepting public could be sold a bill of goods. Yes, the three pukas through the Koolaus have proven a gigantic step forward from the Old Pali road but will your rail project be viewed with the same end confirmation? Do your extra planning during this down time. Build this the best way you can. Be proud of every step you take. Don't add exposed conduits and pipes because you forgot something. People fear what they don't understand. I say provide accurate real renderings to the public now so they can warm up to what will be a very visual element of the new Hawaiian vista. Dense population, high water table, limited land and 'choked' freeways calls for an elevated rail to eventually connect more than just Kapolei to Ala Moana. I'MUA!!
on November 2,2012 | 09:53AM
Kalli wrote:
They keep saying that rail will be fully paid for 3 years after it is completed but fail to say that property taxes will have to be raised substantially to pay for it's operation and maintenance.
on November 2,2012 | 12:36PM
Kuniarr wrote:
Rail won't be fully paid for 3 years after it is completed. Propaganda will say anything to hide the truth.
on November 2,2012 | 09:01PM
Allenk wrote:
Then what about continued ridership? What about additional lines? When you push projects into the future costs only start to rise.
on November 5,2012 | 06:55AM
Sounds like BS (Baloney plus Salami) slammed together to Hawaii citizens throats to accept the rail project to date that is in grinding halt due to the poor project planning; see the today's SA regarding yesterdays' ruling. This editorial by the HART is a smoke screen (deceptive) to hide/divert the magnitude of the problem the rail project is encountering to date. HART sees the Rail as very sweet in this editorial, yet it is very sour in reality due to poor project planning.
on November 2,2012 | 02:22PM
Kuniarr wrote:
This entire piece is the kind of propaganda that attempts to make garbage smell good.
on November 2,2012 | 08:59PM
Civis wrote:
I think that 'Oahu has a bigger crisis than traffic congestion. Our infrastucture is antiquated and must be completely overhauled or we will be no different than a filthy third world destination. It is also imperative that this be addressed and upgraded now to save wha
on November 4,2012 | 01:05PM
Civis wrote:
I think that 'Oahu has a bigger crisis than traffic congestion. Our infrastucture is antiquated and must be overhauled or we will be no different than a filthy third world destination. It is also imperative that the infrastructure be upgraded now to save our coasts from corrosion and reefs from dying off and the general inconvenience of water main breaks, roads shut off as a result and sewage overflow. We need to think seriously about the problem of refuse and our fresh water resources. There is so much that needs to be done that rail is something that should be seen as feasably beyond our reach right now. I propose that people who do not own a car and one car families/households be given a tax break. We have one car in a house of four adults. Most of us catch the bus or walk and the car travels about 5 miles a day except for weekends. We don't mind paying for the cost of the bus. It is still cheaper than gas and parking downtown.
on November 4,2012 | 01:15PM
Reade1 wrote:
Civis good thinking! Commonsense always prevails. I like that, " We need to think seriously about the problem of refuse and our fresh water resources." I have had many discussions on infrastructure for years. Take care the basics first before going out of the box. With the on going development of industrial areas, new homes and proposed high rises for residents will require some major improvement on infrastructure. All we need is the fresh water level supply drop below the safe water mark, with sea level rising as it is indicating, pollution caused from sewage overflow into the streams and ocean we will be in deep shock. Ala Wai is a good living example of pollution. Some of our politicians and developers think without commonsense. The scary part is it will happen sooner or later. Mother Nature will decide when and being in the middle of the Pacific we have a 99.9% chance. One big tsunami will wipe us out and the rail will have no point of support. We need to have projects to prepare our communities for major natural disasters. $5.2 billion can go a long way for survival for the hold state and not just a few people to ride the rail .
on November 6,2012 | 04:02AM
saveparadise wrote:
"Building a foundation of trust with the larger community is vital". Too late. Can't trust the back stabbers at PRP or the politicians that were bought by them.
on November 9,2012 | 08:19AM
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