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Cayetano outlines his rail alternatives, at one-fifth the price

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 6:28 p.m. HST, Sep 27, 2012

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano unveiled a transportation plan today that features new Bus Rapid Transit routes, high-tech traffic signal systems to instantly respond to traffic snarls and plans for two-lane underpasses to ease the flow of traffic on Kapiolani Boulevard and other thoroughfares.

The Cayetano plan would also feature a two-lane extension of the double-decked segment of Nimitz Highway, and would route express buses along a newly created dedicated bus shoulder lane on the Moanalua Freeway.

Cayetano estimates his plan, dubbed the Flexible Affordable Smart Transportation or FAST, would cost $1.1 billion, or about one-fifth the cost of the Honolulu rail transit project.

Cayetano said his plan has two main selling points. "The cost is much less," he said. "And then (there) is the flexibility of the system and its ability to adapt to developing technology and other kinds of occurrences."

Cayetano is running for mayor, and promises to halt the city’s $5.26 billion rail transit project if elected.

He has told audiences during the campaign that he favors a Bus Rapid Transit alternative to rail, but his FAST proposal includes specific new traffic fixes that appear designed to appeal to Windward and Central Oahu communities that would not be directly served by the planned 20-mile rail line.

The Cayetano camp estimates his package of traffic solutions will reduce the average peak travel time from Kapolei to Honolulu from 29 minutes to 25 minutes.

One proposal is for a College Express Bus Rapid Transit route connecting the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu Community College and stops in between.

“It shows the flexibility of the system. If this thing doesn’t work, then we try something else,” Cayetano said.

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