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Rail is Oahu's future

The mayor and five community leaders extol the necessity to stay on track on mass transit

By Peter B. Carlisle, Walter Dods Jr., the Rev. Bob Nakata, Ron Taketa, Maeda Timson and John White


We need to keep Oahu moving. Traffic has us snagged in gridlock and has taken a toll on our quality of life. The status quo is simply unacceptable. After decades of studies and collaborative efforts on the federal, state and local levels, we are finally on the right path with the construction of an elevated rail system.

The Honolulu rail project, voted for by the people, has made significant progress. It has earned several key federal approvals and received $120 million in federal funds, and is on track to receive a total of $1.55 billion as the project progresses. Our local portion of the project's costs is already being paid for through the existing half-percent general excise and use tax (GET) surcharge. And the project broke ground in February and contracts have come in millions of dollars under budget. These milestones are the result of the work of the many people involved in the process, including various Honolulu mayors and City Councils, state and federal lawmakers, and business and community leaders — all of whom understand the importance of having a sensible option to Oahu's gridlocked streets and highways.

Never has a project undergone such public scrutiny. And rightly so, considering the project's size, cost and its overall importance to our community. The city has participated in more than 1,000 workshops, presentations and community briefings, plus nearly 600 neighborhood board meetings since the project began in 2005. This is in addition to the numerous City Council meetings and public hearings held on everything from project finances to the 20-mile alignment to the design of the stations. The project reflects the input of large and small businesses alike, communities along the alignment, our elected leaders, and some of the most experienced transit experts in the nation.


» The 20-mile alignment passes through the heavily traveled urban corridor from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center, and will have 21 stations in key locations, including UH West Oahu, Aloha Stadium, the airport, and Downtown Honolulu.

» The project will cost $5.3 billion, which includes inflation and finance charges.

» The project will be funded using two sources: Federal transit funds and the general excise tax surcharge.

» The first phase of the system from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium is slated to open in 2015; the second section from Kapolei to Middle Street in 2017; and the system will be fully operational in 2019.

» An estimated 10,000 construction and non-construction-related jobs would be generated each year, with peak construction years hitting more than 17,000.

» A study by the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization showed that by 2030, 83 percent of Oahu's jobs and 69 percent of the island's population will be located along or near the rail route.

Source: Mayor's office


While rail opponents last week spun various conspiracy theories on why rail transit is wrong for Oahu ("How the city misled the public," Star-Advertiser, Insight, Aug. 21), something was clearly missing from their commentary: Realistic solutions to deal with our ever-growing traffic problem.

They failed to acknowledge the severity of Honolulu's traffic congestion, which national studies show is among the worst in the nation. The 2010 INRIX Travel Time Tax study ranks Honolulu as the second-most congested city in the United States. Only Los Angeles fared worse.

With the population and jobs continuing to shift toward Leeward and Central Oahu, the commute will only get worse. Sobering statistics tell the story: Traffic will continue to worsen as our island population increases by an estimated 200,000 people by 2030. The most recent U.S. census showed Oahu's population has already increased by nearly 80,000 during the last decade alone.

Tens of thousands more vehicles will be added to our roads in the future. Critics of the project want you to believe that rail will not improve congestion — but ask them what it would be like without rail. The fact is without rail, congestion will be far worse. That fact is supported by transportation studies, and it is also just plain common sense. We need long-term traffic solutions before future congestion worsens and our quality of life further diminishes.


An elevated rail system, free from congested streets and highways, offers a viable and efficient public transportation option. Keeping rail above ground rather than at street level, as some have suggested, means commuters will not be stuck in traffic or tied up in gridlock if there is an accident on the highway. Instead, trains will arrive every three minutes during peak travel times, and travelers can count on arriving at destinations on time, every time. Rail transit provides a safe and reliable alternative. And it will be affordable: fares will be the same as the city bus, and city bus passes and transfers can be used to ride rail.

Honolulu's rail system was selected after years of engineering and transit studies.

Other public transportation alternatives were carefully examined, but were deemed less reliable, less safe and far less efficient when compared with an elevated rail system. Alternatives studied included expanding the bus system, managed lanes or toll roads, and even doing nothing, known as a "no-build" option.

In addition, a panel of technical experts carefully reviewed several technologies including maglev, rubber-tired systems and more, and found that Honolulu's rail system provides the best value not just in construction but also in the operations and maintenance phases as well. Dozens of cities have chosen the same steel-on-steel technology. Proven technology with multiple vendors enhances competition, and greater competition will yield the best prices for taxpayers.


Economists say rail is the one project on Hawaii's economic horizon that can provide a much-needed boost to our local economy. Several independent job reports have already stated that rail will be one of the largest job creators for Hawaii.

An estimated 10,000 construction and non-construction-related jobs each year would be attributed to the rail construction. In addition to contractor Kiewit's initial estimate that it would staff 350 workers just for the first phase of construction of the guideway, additional subcontractors and other support staff and craft workers will be hired for the work. Those workers would then spend their wages at local businesses, fueling the state's economy and creating more jobs. It's basic economics, job creation in one sector has a ripple effect in others.

Opponents misled the public in saying that the city changed its job creation numbers from 17,000 to 10,166. The city never changed its numbers. Here are the facts: Since more jobs are generated during construction years than during the planning phases, the overall yearly estimate is roughly 10,000 each year with peak construction years hitting more than 17,000. It appears they chose to ignore the facts plainly stated in the project's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Furthermore, a study by the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OMPO) revealed that by 2030, 83 percent of Oahu's jobs and 69 percent of the island's population will be located along or near the rail route. Prudent planning dictates we address the need to deal with the congestion now before it's upon us.

As with other cities nationwide, development around the transit stations, referred to as transit-oriented development, would also add billions of dollars to our economy over time. This also creates a prime opportunity for public-private partnerships, and can generate a viable mix of retail, commercial and affordable housing options.

It's time to get the economy moving in the right direction again, and rail transit offers the opportunity to make that happen.


Honolulu Rail Transit is a "green" or environmentally friendly project. Rail transit will take an estimated 40,000 vehicles off our roads each weekday in the future, reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Nationally, rail transit is favored by the Sierra Club. Smart growth and land use, with rail as a transportation option, will help "keep the country, country" by concentrating future planned development along Oahu's urban corridor where it belongs.

Rail's electric-powered system also offers the opportunity to use renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar power.


The city has done everything it can to keep this project on time and on budget. It has constantly considered ways to reduce project costs while maintaining a quality finished product. Construction contracts thus far have come in about $300 million under budget, as companies compete for jobs in the tight economy.

Sadly, it is the opponents' recent lawsuit that could potentially cause lengthy and unnecessary project delays that would lead to cost increases. This despite the fact that the voting public has already decided twice on moving forward with rail — first in 2008 with the approval of the rail system, and then last year with the approval of the establishment of a public transit authority to oversee the project.

Unfortunately, Hawaii has a history of allowing lawsuits to delay important projects due to the special interests of a few creating needless delays and rising costs. Most of us recall what happened with H3 freeway and the Superferry. And it is taxpayers who are often left with the increased price tag. We don't need that with this project, especially in this economy.

That's why the project should keep moving as quickly and prudently as possible and remain on time and on budget. Voters made that clear when they overwhelmingly approved the creation of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART), which has the single focus of oversight of the planning, construction and operations of the rail project.

It is important to understand that oversight does not end there. The Federal Transit Administration also has stringent oversight over Honolulu's rail project. The project's progress is closely monitored, its financial plans regularly reviewed and approved, and the FTA's oversight committee meets for several days each month with the project's senior management team. That federal oversight goes straight to the top: Both U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff have publicly given the Honolulu project high marks. Indeed, Secretary LaHood on his visit here in March told reporters that Honolulu's project has been "done by the book."

With the bulk of the preliminary engineering work completed and as we move into the final design and construction phase with the FTA, there are several key milestones ahead.

Utilities are being relocated and engineering testing completed in preparation of the guideway construction this fall; we are preparing for a finalized full-funding grant agreement with the FTA next year; and another series of informational town hall meetings islandwide is set to begin soon.

The good news is that the project is on track and set to open its first section from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium in 2015; then from Kapolei to Middle Street in 2017; and be fully operational in 2019.

For the past 40 years, plans to build a rail transit system on Oahu have been debated, vetted, started and stopped. During those decades and up to the present, traffic abatement measures have been expertly designed and implemented such as zipper lanes, contraflow lanes, HOV lanes and maximizing the city bus system.

However, traffic has only worsened and Oahu residents have endured growing traffic for years, hampering their quality of life. With continued growth and increased affordable housing on the Leeward side, rail is the definitive solution. Rail will move people, not cars. Rail is the answer for Oahu's future — the status quo is simply unacceptable.

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soundofreason wrote:
"By Peter B. Carlisle, Walter Dods Jr., the Rev. Bob Nakata, Ron Taketa, Maeda Timson and John White " -------------This is so weird! Just yesterday, my kid was asking me what "propaganda" was and meant. I'll share, with you, the same information I did with her------------------Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda, in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence an audience. Propaganda is often biased, with facts selectively presented (thus possibly lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis
on August 28,2011 | 02:43AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
Well said soundofreason. The issue of addressing traffic congestion from the west side needs to be revisited. This particular rail project with all its question marks is not going to cut it. Most people commenting against rail are not necessarily anti-rail so much as they are anti-this-rail. Cronyism, questionable car vendor, obvious cost and maintenance, questionable route are among just some of the issues that haven't been addressed properly. Why can't this city do it right?? Nestor Garcia should have excused himself from politics instead of the chairmanship and gone back to being part time secretary. And, Peter the Cheerleader should be ousted as well for putting the citizens of Oahu in a financial bind for decades to come. With all due respect to Senator Inouye, I feel he has lost touch with the citizens of this state and is in touch only with the politicians.
on August 29,2011 | 06:38AM
soundofreason wrote:
Boy. All those names yet no one who is really "qualified" to speak on the matter. How's about we just fix our freeways like everybody else is AFFORDABLY doing. We are a ONE million population here. The next biggest population that has an elevated rail is FOUR million. Four million BEGINS to merit this kind of system, FOUR.......not ONE.
on August 28,2011 | 02:51AM
FrankGenadio wrote:
So "a panel of technical experts carefully reviewed several technologies including maglev, rubber-tired systems and more, and found that Honolulu's rail system provides the best value not just in construction but also in the operations and maintenance phases as well." Anyone interested in hearing an opposing viewpoint from a rail supporter (that directly contradicts the above statement) is encouraged to attend Councilman Tom Berg's town meeting at Kapolei Hale this coming Wednesday, August 31, at 7:00 p.m. Aloha.
on August 28,2011 | 02:55AM
Hawaii_INTP wrote:
I would like public discussion on Councilmember Ann Kobayashi’s proposal of using perhaps Honolulu Rail’s elevated guideway Kapolei-to-Iwilei route -- but instead of trains her alternative is reversible lanes for express busses (and emergency vehicles and maybe toll commuters). Its advantage is that rather than the 45 minute stop-and-go commute for Honolulu Rail, the 60 mph commute from Kapolei to Iwilei for express busses would be 20 minutes.
on August 28,2011 | 07:46AM
hybrid1 wrote:
Professor Panos Prevedouros published a "Managed Lane" study several years ago to eliminate the H-1 bottlenecks at the H-1/H-2 merge, the Middle St merge and the afternoon westbound Halawa merge (available at honolulutraffic.com). The study proposes a 10 mile,3-lane, reversible, elevated highway between LCC and downtown Hotel Street for buses and Alakea St/Halekauwila St for sedans at an estimated cost of $1 Billion which could be funded by FHWA (80 percent - $800 million) and Honolulu (20 percent- $200 million). A similar Tampa Reversible Elevated was built in 2005 at a cost of $42 million per mile. For now, only two Flyovers (HOV2, don't need toll) are needed: a 4 mile Kamehameha Flyover (LCC and Aloha Stadium) and a 3 mile Nimitz Flyover (Airport Viaduct to downtown). OMPO has the Nimitz flyover as one of their projects for many years. The flyovers cost the Oahu Taxpayer $200 million compared with $7 Billion for rail. Express buses could be used on the Freeways and Flyovers from west and central Oahu which would reduce the commute time from over one hour to less than 30 minutes from Kapolei or Ewa Beach to downtown, even during peak hours.
on August 28,2011 | 09:17AM
aiea7 wrote:
hybrud1 - If your figures for the two flyovers are correct, then why is the state going to construct an additional eastbound lane, for $100 million, which is about 2 miles long. Did you ask the state why don't they implement the OMPOs plan for these flyovers which you claim will only cost $200 million, and which would substantially reduce traffice along all the traffic corridors on the west side? Believe panos' plan and you claim are suspicious so no one has really taken these plans seriously. If these plans were feasible, the state would not hesitate since $200 million is peanuts even in this down economy. Talk is cheap.
on August 28,2011 | 10:50AM
wiliki wrote:
Indeed talk is cheap. The bigger problem is NOT just reaching Honolulu but getting to your destination once you arrive at the fringe of the city. Express buses get stuck in the Nimitz traffic. City councilmen have opposed road realignments for better overall traffic flow vs the lower traffic and less congestion in their own districts in the past.... For example, Rod Tam organized opposition to closing the Ward Street onramp in busy hours and similarly to limiting the flow on the Vineyard Blvd onramp. These are the cause of the Middle Street merge congestion. Councilman Fox also shut down plans for the BRT on Kapiolani Blvd. This really means that bus solutions wont work in Honolulu, because councilmen prefer drivers (their constituents) over bus routes.
on August 28,2011 | 12:26PM
hybrid1 wrote:
Politics reject the Nimitz Flyover option. Remember that Senator Inouye stated that " $1 Billion for Sewer Upgrade will bankrupt the City"...yet has no problem with spending $7 Billion on a Rail from nowhere to no where! Inouye also insists that Rail will improve traffic congestion at the H-1 bottlenecks despite the fact that City transit chief Yoshioka now acknowledges that "traffic congestion will be worse in the future with rail than what it is today without rail." Yoshioka's admission is not some off-hand comment: It was written, reviewed, and included in the environmental impact study that was approved by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Inouye's insistence alone will stop the State's/OMPO's plan to build the nimitz flyover..... A suggestion two years ago to then Governor Lingle and his Transportation Chief Brian Morioka to build the Nimitz Flyover instead of the Eastbound Lane to Vineyard received the reply that "the 2.5 mile Nimitz flyover was too expensive at $400 million to build" (but Morioka did not admit that FHWA would fund 80 percent of the Nimitz Flyover. Morioka did not explain why the single eastbound lane was preferable to the 3 lane Nimitz Reversible Flyover despite the fact that the Nimitz Flyover would cost the Oahu Taxpayer only 20 percent of $400 million or $80 million!!!!
on August 28,2011 | 04:42PM
aiea7 wrote:
hybrid1 - polictics, that is absurb. There must be other valid reason why they flyovers were not considered viable. You are taking the statement that traffic will be worse with rail in the future out of context - the real point is that without rail it might be 10 times worse than with rail. The concept of flyovers were considered way before the lingle administration, but for some reason, all felt that flyovers were not the remedy. Really, you are advocating something that has been rejected numerous times and you claim that it was politics is totally absurb.
on August 28,2011 | 09:07PM
hybrid1 wrote:
Absurd???? Actual cost for a similar 3 lane Flyover in tampa florida (Google Tampa Reversible Lane) cost $42 million per mile in 2005. Inouye has insisted the rail be built but now sez he will try his best to get the $1.5 Billion, otherwise you can curse him!...Curse? words are cheap...Inouye should RESIGN his senate seat if he fails to get the $1.5 Billion because that failure will increase the tax on the Oahu taxpayer.....Talk is cheap!
on August 29,2011 | 07:59AM
Sunny wrote:
Increased lanes at Middle St will only shift the bottleneck further East, the exits at Vinyard, Pali, Punchbowl, Kinau, and Punahou will still be bottlenecks. Our traffic would flow better if drivers wouldn't try to merge from the left lane to the right at the last minute causing several lanes to slow down or stop. In LA the have solid lines on the left lane for long distances you can only enter and exit at certain locations. The DOT should look into this!
on August 30,2011 | 10:10AM
mgolojuch wrote:
No thanks I have already been to his lop-sided meeting in Ewa. Berg does not know the truth if it walked up and slapped him.
on August 30,2011 | 12:03PM
mgolojuch wrote:
No thanks I have already been to his lop-sided meeting in Ewa. Berg does not know the truth if it walked up and slapped him.
on August 30,2011 | 12:03PM
MalamaKaAina wrote:
Fraud and fuzzy math continue to inspire the deaf, dumb, and blind to build a train from no where to no where.
on August 28,2011 | 03:25AM
soundofreason wrote:
and again, the NEXT level of population that "justified" building an elevated rail was a population of FOUR million people. Not the ONE million we have here. FOUR.......not ONE.
on August 28,2011 | 03:31AM
rosa wrote:
This article says nothing new and is again political motivated. What is lacking is the proof that having rail will reduce traffic on the H1 and H2. Give us the statistics of vehicles currently using the freeways during peak traffic hours compared to what you project the rate will be when rail is complete. Be sure that you show proof for your projections resulting from rail. I don't believe you can show a decrease in vehicle usage resulting from rail.
on August 28,2011 | 04:57AM
Hawaii_INTP wrote:
See Table 3-9 (pp. 3-21 to 3-22) and Table 3-10 (pp. 3-23 to 3-24) of the Final EIS. Buried in the fine print of those tables is the assessment that Honolulu Rail will have NO project and cumulative impacts on reducing H-1 traffic gridlock. Table 3-10: from 2005 (actual) to 2030 (with Rail) the Level of Service during the afternoon rush hour for H-1 at Ward Avenue goes from F (failure) to F (failure); H-1 at Vineyard off-ramp goes from E (poor) to F (failure); Moanalua Freeway from D (fair) to D (fair); H-1 near Aiea from D (fair) to F (failure); and H-1 at Waikele goes from E (poor) to F (failure). IMHO *burying* these highly material and significant assessments in the fine print of two massive tables (and discussed nowhere else) is *unethical.*
on August 28,2011 | 07:38AM
wiliki wrote:
Why am I not surprise? Without rail, these ratings of traffic congestion would go from F to FFF (really really bad)!
on August 28,2011 | 07:42AM
hybrid1 wrote:
Hannemann repeatedly portrayed rail as a solution to Oahu's existing traffic congestion problem. Mayor Peter Carlisle has echoed that message. Yet city transit chief Yoshioka now acknowledges that "traffic congestion will be worse in the future with rail than what it is today without rail." Yoshioka's admission is not some off-hand comment: It was written, reviewed, and included in the environmental impact study that was approved by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
on August 28,2011 | 08:23AM
Hawaii_INTP wrote:
Who could be surprise to have thought otherwise? Google “Abercrombie Approves Rail EIS” KITV YouTube (December 16, 2010) and you will see U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye’s false and misleading statement of “the importance of a rail system for Honolulu to *reduce* traffic gridlock.” Likely misled himself by Honolulu Rail’s public informational outreaches, IMHO the HART Board needs to publicly apologize to Senator Inouye -- and place full page ads in the Star Advertiser to make the highly material and significant assessments of Table 3-9 (pp. 3-21 to 3-22) and Table 3-10 (pp. 3-23 to 3-24) in the Final EIS unambiguously crystal clear to the public before moving forward.
on August 28,2011 | 08:57AM
wiliki wrote:
Picky, Picky, Picky.... Hannemann and Carlisle are right. And Yoshioka says the same thing. With rail, congestion could be bad-- but not as bad as it would be without rail. Yoshioka cannot compare that to traffic congestion today because the traffic will be greater in the future. Why confuse future with current congestion? Besides, I think that most expect that like a lot of places on the mainland, future rail ridership will exceed projections.
on August 29,2011 | 02:54AM
hybrid1 wrote:
The train will carry 6000 commuters per hour (2/3 standees, 1/3 seated) and the three lane Kam and Nimitz flyover will carry 10,000 commuters (buses, carpools and HOV2) per hour (all seated). Rail cost $7 Billion versus $200 million for both flyovers. Scrap the rail which will not eliminate the H-1 bottlenecks. Flyovers will eliminate bottlenecks. Express buses servicing West and Central Oahu towns during peak hours will greatly reduce the number of autos on the highway.
on August 29,2011 | 08:08AM
wiliki wrote:
Except that the flyovers don't solve the problem. The train will remove 6000 commuters per hour (and this does not square with the projection of 50,000 riders a day) from the traffic flow. While the 10,000 will still be in the traffic flow and get caught in the town traffic. Ergo no real solution. Just three bottlenecks a little faster, but no overall solution to the congestion.
on August 29,2011 | 09:38PM
Keolu wrote:
Except that rail ridership was overstated in every city where rail was built.
on August 29,2011 | 11:29AM
Keolu wrote:
Except that rail ridership was overstated in every city where rail was built.
on August 29,2011 | 11:29AM
rosa wrote:
Thanks! So what is the purpose of rail if it will not reduce traffic congestion and speed up rush hour traffic on our freeways? Sounds like just another waste of taxpayers money to make some people more rich.
on August 29,2011 | 04:23AM
wiliki wrote:
There's been surveys done and projections made. Redoing them wont make a difference.
on August 28,2011 | 07:39AM
honokai wrote:
Houston Chronicle reporter Bill King when reporting on their metro rail project (8/25/11) states that "New Starts" federal funds are in doubt ---- "Most of the congressional sources with whom I spoke seemed to think the program would survive but that the funds would be significantly reduced. ....hanging over all this speculation is the question of whether the New Starts program will draw the attention of the Super Committee that has been charged with coming up with $1.2 trillion of cuts. Of course, it is anyone's guess as to how the Super Committee might treat the New Starts program. However, it seems likely that programs the CBO has highlighted as possible cuts would come up at some point in that process." ---- noticeably absent from the current Star Advertiser opinion piece is this problem ----What if only part of the money is there? --- Are they going to double our property taxes to pay for it? ---- If it turns out there is not adequate federal funding, shouldn't we get a new vote on this before our taxes skyrocket?
on August 28,2011 | 04:57AM
enoughisenough wrote:
I was hoping that they would actually respond to last week's article. Instead, we get propaganda. Empty words; wasted space.
on August 28,2011 | 05:13AM
POKEMON wrote:
Walter Dodd's opinion and the rest of individuals in this article are out of touch with the mainstream taxpayer. The rail system is so corrupted already it makes no sense anymore to anyone but the contractors and politicians. I don't believe the majority of people on Oahu think it is needed or is a cost effective solution to the traffic situation anymore...considering the state of the economy and the other things that haven't been properly maintained such as our water mains we don't have the money for it. Look at H3 and the 20 billiion that was wasted building it. Carlisle does not project any confidence to the people that he knows how to run a city efficiently with limited tax dollars and that worries me a lot.
on August 28,2011 | 05:18AM
bender wrote:
I see they are still clinging to the 10,000 jobs promise. But all one has to do is look at how many workers the winning bidder for the first phase plans to use to realize the promise of all those jobs will never be fulfilled. Kiewitt said they would use approximately 350 workers. That'a a long ways from 10K. Most of the firms that will be supplying Kiewitt will not need to add workers, they'lll be able to fill their needs as a part of everyday business. I believe only the pre-cast cement suppliers will add workers, and that will fluctuate. One other thing, when John White ran for the City Council last year I don't believe I ever saw anything that revealed hisrelationship with Pacific Resource Paternership. It's understandable why White and a couple of others support rail, they will financially benefit.
on August 28,2011 | 06:05AM
veloperson wrote:
Nothing really new from the rail proponents here... seems they hope that if their b.s./propaganda are heard often and loud enough, we will come to believe them to be true. Each of their points have already been credibly countered as b.s./propaganda (see honolulutraffic.com for a comprehensive listing) and they must be getting increasingly desperate as it is obvious that the tide of truth and public awareness is turning against rail as it is now planned. STOP RAIL NOW!
on August 28,2011 | 06:48AM
JohnHenry wrote:
Stop this rail talk before it is too late. We are in debt now and this will ruin all of us who have to pay taxes.
on August 28,2011 | 07:28AM
KeithHaugen wrote:
But it will put bucks into the pockets of a handful of rail proponents, including of all of the group who attached their names to this promotional puffery...at the expense of the public, today and for generations to come.
on August 28,2011 | 07:48AM
Pukele wrote:
Parsons Brinckerhoff was paid 10 million dollars to do alternatives analysis for rail. They did not include any analysis of light rail. They did not include a proper analysis of Managed Lanes (they did analyze a drawing of a managed lane concept from a local website). The reason they did not analyze these alternatives is that they were asked not to. This is political interference. This is why the project should be stopped.
on August 28,2011 | 07:34AM
wiliki wrote:
I'm impressed that well respected community leaders such as Walter Dods, and Bob Nakata have lent their support for rail. And their comments are hardly like the "conspiracy theories" that heard from Cayetano and other opponents last week. The Rail is a solution to our traffic congestion problems and should be allowed to continue-- not only because it has the support of voters on two ballot items.
on August 28,2011 | 07:37AM
Kuniarr wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on August 28,2011 | 01:48PM
wiliki wrote:
The no vote was much less than 50%. And the HSTA vote also won. How many times must we vote on the same issue. And yes other respected community leaders support rail. We should charge opponents for delaying rail.
on August 29,2011 | 02:57AM
kekelaward wrote:
Nice rehash of the talking points from the mayor. I see that you are already using the "conspiracy theories" meme that he started as he has no real answers for the points that were brought up last week. And Dodds and Nakata are from the group of local elites that got us in this mess in the first place.
on August 29,2011 | 07:21AM
polekasta wrote:
"A study by the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization showed that by 2030, 83 percent of Oahu's jobs and 69 percent of the island's population will be located along or near the rail route" 83% of jobs and 69% of the island's population will be located along or near the rail route? I wonder what the Oahu Metropolitan planning Organization defines as near. Walking distance within 10 minutes is near. How many people actually live within 10 minutes walking distance to the stations. example: I may live near the rail route, but, to walk to the station will take longer then 10 minutes. Who is the City trying to fool? "The project will be funded using two sources: Federal transit funds and the general excise tax surcharge." What happens if the Federal Government denies the City's request of the $1.5 billion in federal transit funds? "Rail transit will take an estimated 40,000 vehicles off our roads each weekday in the future, reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions." How is Rail going to be powered? HECO already built a new power generating plant in Campbell Industrial park, but is that for the rail line or for residential customers? How much greenhouse gas emissions get released by a power generating plant running 24 hours a day to provide power to run the rail for the 20 hours a day it will be in operation? Is it really less then 40,000 vehicles operating 2-4 hours a day? "An estimated 10,000 construction and non-construction-related jobs each year would be attributed to the rail construction. In addition to contractor Kiewit's initial estimate that it would staff 350 workers just for the first phase of construction of the guideway, additional subcontractors and other support staff and craft workers will be hired for the work" So where is the 9650 jobs going to be? and what happens to those jobs when the rail line is completed?
on August 28,2011 | 07:39AM
hybrid1 wrote:
The city initially claimed that rail would create 17,000 new jobs during the construction phase, but later lowered its estimate to 10,166, without explanation. Even this number is pure fiction. The $483 million construction contract went to Kiewit, which said it needed 350 workers to build the first segment. The same workers would probably end up building the remaining segments, because the plan is to build the system in segments, not all at once. An Italian company, Ansaldo, expects to receive more than $1 billion for providing and maintaining the trains and rail system. It is promising "300 local jobs for local people." If you are counting, we have identified 650 new jobs. The city has yet to identify the other 9,516 that it has promised.
on August 28,2011 | 08:25AM
wiliki wrote:
10,000 seems reasonable. It's probably based on some spending model of construction. Problem is that it could be that the same person does more than one job.
on August 29,2011 | 03:01AM
HoldEverything wrote:
I love rail. In Tokyo. In Hawaii, I see nothing but bad news ahead. Not that rail isn't a good idea. I just don't think we have people here who are capable of building, operating, and maintaining it. It has been proven pretty conclusively that we can't maintain our sewers, water treatment facilities, roads, and water system. Why would rail be any different? We've got politicians and a banker running this thing. Couldn't we find anyone less qualified to undertake the biggest infrastructure project in Honolulu's history? Sorry, folks, but this project has too many complex moving parts. Hawaii doesn't have the right kind of brains in town to pull it off.
on August 28,2011 | 07:41AM
wiliki wrote:
The Bus is well run. Their goal is having no breakdowns in operation (well that should not cover traffic accidents). They have a good daily and long term maintenance program. If they can do that with buses, then it should also be done (or rather it must) with the train.
on August 30,2011 | 08:52PM
KeithHaugen wrote:
Aloha: It is very interesting, though not surprising, that this "spin" does not address the issues raised in the expose, including why the City misled the public, and continues to do so. This promo piece doesn't address the facts, such as the minor consideration that we don't have the money to build the most expensive (per mile) railroad in the world. Or that the feds very likely will not give us the funding. Or that a huge majority of the public, voters and taxpayers, don't want it. They don't even mention the better alternatives that would have cost less and would have relieved traffic on our highways -- something that will not happen if the railroad is built. They still don't release the earlier City-funded (our tax dollars) surveys/polls that showed only a very small (single digit) percentage of those polled supported the rail idea, or planned to even "try" it, if it is built, and that almost no one indicated a willingness to give up a car. Although the polling was done for the City, they dodge that question by saying the polling was not done "by" the City, and must have been done by one of the 10 PR firms they hired and paid millions of dollars to put a positive spin on the ill-conceived railroad project. Oh, I guess they didn't even mention spending all of that money to put their "spin" on rail. The lies continue. And they don't talk about why they won't let the public vote on whether or not to build a railroad for Kapolei shoppers to get to Ala Moana Center in 2025.
on August 28,2011 | 07:43AM
KeithHaugen wrote:
Mahalo to the Star-Advertiser for allowing readers who see through this propaganda, to comment. It is interesting that the already huge majority in opposition to the railroad seems to be growing by leaps and bounds and that almost no one writes in support of rail or applauding those who lent their names and reputation to a "spin" that doesn't address the issues in the earlier "expose" about what the City is doing to us. Let's hope some community-minded person with enough money to fight City Hall will sue, if necessary, to force the City to put it to a vote. Let the public decide on this, the most expensive proposal in the history of Honolulu City & County. Think about what this proposed railroad will do to our beautiful Island home, and to our children and grandchildren.
on August 28,2011 | 07:59AM
butinski wrote:
Seems like the only one supporting rail is "Wiliki". He sounds like a mouthpiece for the city/state as did his predecessor "Build Rail Now" used to do. Could they be one and the same?
on November 10,2011 | 04:10PM
Pacej001 wrote:
Being railroaded in a one party state: Imagine, for a moment, if our legislature had some degree of political balance, enough of an opposing party presence to force the conduct of critical hearings. Even though rail is a City and County matter, I think an opposition party could have forced the shortcomings of rail into the daylight and made a difference in the outcome. There are so many issues like this that go unexamined, unchallenged because of our lack of political opposition--- our $22billion in unfunded pension/healthcare benefits, for example. An opposition party, strong enough to challenge the establishment, could make a lot of difference.
on August 28,2011 | 08:06AM
mgolojuch wrote:
Are you talking about Tea Party members like Berg?
on August 30,2011 | 12:20PM
mgolojuch wrote:
Are you talking about Tea Party members like Berg?
on August 30,2011 | 12:20PM
thatsashame_0723 wrote:
Question I have - is the FED going to provide the funding needed to complete this project as we were told? I don't have the exact amount but it's into the billions. No way the city has that kind of money in these times. Inouye backing off guranteeing the money this past week - "I'll try my best and, if I don't get it, I should be cursed" - doesn't inspire confidence. If REPS keep the House and win the Senate, they'll control Congress and continue to cut, and in some cases completely stop, government spending projects. (Note: Inouye would not be Appropirations Chair anymore). Bottom line: the city NEEDS the Federal Funding to complete this project. With the lawsuit in place, it only delays start on the project and pushes it back to who knows when. With a vote already taken in Hawai'i (whether you agree or not with the results), I think it's going to come down to what the courts have to say and how much funding is going to be provided by the Fed. Two really big IFs at this point.
on August 28,2011 | 08:30AM
edsunrise wrote:
The Hawaii State Legislature in 2005 passed HB1309, which became ACT 247. Five years prior, Honolulu’s Mayor Harris and his Administration advanced a study to address traffic on the H-1 Corridor resulting in highway technology being better than rail for relieving traffic - favoring a Bus Rapid Transit System over rail. When the State Legislature and Governor signed off to approve ACT 247, all neighbor island Councils and Mayors could approve of raising their county GET by .5% of which could be used for highway technology- building toll roads, reversible expressways, and implementing a Bus Rapid Transit system. In contrast, applicable to Oahu only, ACT 247 included language that prohibited a GET increase on Oahu for highway technology. Applicable to us on Oahu only, any system on the elevated fixed guideway that does not stay on the elevated fixed guideway cannot be funded with the rail surcharge- meaning, if an ambulance or fire truck or bus uses the elevated fixed guideway and comes down at grade to use our surface streets, that would be a prohibited use of the rail surcharge. The State Legislature knew that when they crafted HB1309 in 2005, that if all modes of traffic relief were studied on Oahu, rail would be defeated like it was five years earlier and Bus Rapid Transit (highway technology) would prevail. Thus, the intent of the State Legislature was not to advance options for the greatest mode of traffic relief to succeed for Oahu’s residents but rather allow for a rail system regardless of the cost, performance, ridership and tax burden it will generate. Within ACT 247, language permits the State Legislature to profiteer off of the GET rail surcharge levied on Oahu. Thus far, the State has withheld $71 million of the $711 million collected. The State only needs between $600,000 to $700,000 a year to administer the rail surcharge- yet the State Legislature collects in excess of $16 million a year on Oahu from the rail surcharge and then uses that money meant for the rail endeavor for projects on neighbor islands where the tax is not levied. In conclusion, there is a better way to resolve our traffic congestion without the State Legislature making a profit off of tax payers on Oahu desperate for traffic relief.
on August 28,2011 | 09:05AM
mcc wrote:
This article did not quote Uncle Dan who is changing his strong conviction that the rail money is coming. Dan said he cannot make promises but will try ihis best. Good luck with the Republicans who control now. Bye bye rail Good riddance!
on August 28,2011 | 09:21AM
localguy wrote:
For such a panel of "So Called Rail Experts" their planning leaves much to be desired. Take the station plans, the overhead fabric cover may look pretty, but will do nothing to keep blowing rain off waiting passengers. Major design flaw, standard for the Nei. How will riders get from their home to the rail station where there will not be station parking? Hmmm, we haven't thought of that on yet is the answer. Major failure to plan again. How will we maintain low operation costs? Unions want a large staff of workers at each station, a major money pit. Learn from San Diego rail, no station workers. Tickets by machine or pass, random transit police on cars check tickets. Wow, what a concept, low, low rail labor costs. Our unions do not care, they feather bed another taxpayer money pit. Final issue, if Hawaii finds it impossible to maintain quality roads, pothole free, how can they be trusted to maintain rail? Hmmmm, haven't thought of that one yet.
on August 28,2011 | 09:21AM
mcc wrote:
I was in Kaneohe the other day looking at the Likelike Highway that is built up in the air and I could see the future view of our coastlines with this mass of concrete in the air. Take a look at the mountain next time you are in Kaneohe for a preview of these writer's future of Hawaii. It is one big UGLY.
on August 28,2011 | 09:26AM
edsunrise wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on August 28,2011 | 10:04AM
kekelaward wrote:
Typical of the SA. Totally unsurprising.
on August 29,2011 | 07:29AM
Wazdat wrote:
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE ???? Talking more B$ about rail. I did not hear anything about FIXING our roads, Double decker Nimitz, synch lights, etc. They are the PROBLEM..
on August 28,2011 | 10:26AM
Wazdat wrote:
If Rail is our future.....WE ARE DOOMED
on August 28,2011 | 10:40AM
Eagle156 wrote:
It is evident that the City is not able to respond to the facts put forward in last Sunday's op/ed piece opposing the rail project. Instead they could only refer to it as "conspiracy theories". Hopefully the upcoming lawsuit will not "just cause delays" but will bring the project to a close .It makes little sense for the City to boast about the many public hearings that it held when the overwhelming concerns about the project were routinely brushed aside. One disturbing issue is the statement of "moving into final design and construction phase" If that phase of the work has not even started then it becomes impossible to believe in the present 5.3 billion total cost of the project. The article still drags out its information on jobs,traffic congestion and federal funding all of which have been proven to be false promises.
on August 28,2011 | 10:44AM
Clothier wrote:
No small business comments or supporters, no environmental supporters, no CURRENT CEO"S, just the usual suspects attempting to sell an expensive package that will NOT solve the problem, (their own admission in the EIS) but will fund developers, unions and politicians eager for reelection.
on August 28,2011 | 10:45AM
FreshFish wrote:
Rail will end up going in circles without making ends meet.
on August 28,2011 | 11:16AM
tinapa wrote:
Okay, both sides have passionately defended their respective position. However, the initiative relating to the rail transit was presented to the voters to either vote for or reject it and the result was....majority of the voters voted for it. In a democratic society, the majority prevails and we should respect their wishes. So, let us start the train and those who want to experience a newer and better quality of life, hop in and those who prefer to continue embracing the old status quo you can stay put because that is also your right.
on August 28,2011 | 11:30AM
polekasta wrote:
I ask again, where on that November 2008 ballot did it ask the public if the city should go ahead and build rail? It was already predetermined that rail would be built, the ballot question only asked if steel on steel would be the technology applied. If steel on steel was voted down, the city would just move on to the next technology whether it was rubber tire on concrete or mag-lev. Let me add on that during the 2008 campaign, the city spent millions of taxpayer money promoting the rail. The city was also found to have misled the public countless times after the November election, and continues to mislead the public about rail to this day.
on August 28,2011 | 12:14PM
luckypopo wrote:
Revisionist history. Everyone knew the ballot 2008 question was a referendum on the rail transit question, steel on steel in particular. Throughout the campaign season, there were desperate efforts by Slater/Panos/Djou and Stop Rail Now urging the public to vote 'no' and in their words, "Let the People Decide." There were plenty of debates, speeches, articles, media ads, community forums, town halls, protests and everything you'd want in a vibrant democracy. It was a very heated and very public discussion as I recall. It was the talk of the town. Even some pro-rail people voted no because they preferred maglev or rubber tires. The final result: The majority of Oahu voted in favor for steel on steel rail transit. The people spoke. We debated and we voted. We chose to take action do the right thing after decades of deliberation. Not surprisingly, Slater and his band of anti-railers are sore losers and are still trying to kill this important project, regardless of public opinion and the democratic process. They've succeeded in the past, but not this time.
on August 28,2011 | 02:51PM
tinapa wrote:
I could not recall exactly the wordings posed in the ballot but the highlight of the initiative was "are you infavor of a rail transit system......................?" The question as to whether which technology (rubber vs. steel) is appropriate was never in the ballot. The issue was debated after the initiative was passed otherwise it would be foolish to have a such discussion had the initiative been rejected. I suggest, you call the State Election Officer's Office and ask if you can have a facsimile of the ballot. Proponents and opponents of the project, have saturated the media with campaign slogans before the election, spending considerable amount of money promoting their respective side of the debate. Obviously, the majority of the voters sided with those who favored the project, Those on the losing side became more aggresive in their opposition by filing lawsuits and proclaiming propagandas against the project. My point is, and I repeat, give our democratic process a chance to run its course.
on August 28,2011 | 03:01PM
polekasta wrote:
"Shall the powers, duties, and functions of the city, through its director of transportation services, include establishment of a steel wheel on steel rail transit system?".... That was the question on the ballot back in 2008. Where on the question is the "highlight of the initiative" that if voted yes it would be "for" rail? The city already had it's mind make up that they would build rail. This question asked if the city should use steel on steel rail or not. The majority of voters sided with those who favored the project since the proponents outspent the opponents nearly 4 to 1. As for giving our democratic process a chance to run it's course, How can that be done when this project was corrupted from day 1.
on August 28,2011 | 09:04PM
kekelaward wrote:
Nice example of the "Revisionist history" that luckypopo mentioned.p
on August 29,2011 | 07:32AM
Cobalt wrote:
Rail...We need it. Bring It ON!!!!!! We will have a better quality of life!!!!
on August 29,2011 | 12:37PM
butinski wrote:
The headline "Rail is Oahu's future" is correct as far it went but left out the rest of the sentence. " Rail is Oahu's future for endless higher taxes and corrupt management ".
on August 28,2011 | 11:32AM
KeithHaugen wrote:
Aloha: All things considered, the Star-Advertiser should call on the Mayor and City Council to allow the public to vote on whether or not to build a railroad on O`ahu. That would win them a lot of support from a public that does not want to build the most expensive (per mile) railroad in the world, and would like to have a say before being railroaded by a handful of supporters. It is pretty evident that most of the S-A readers oppose the multi-billion dollar boondoggle and the rail supporters who allowed their names to be attached to today's "spin." The headline says rail is O`ahu's future, but not whether it is good or bad. After the earlier "expose" about what the City has done to mislead us, I think everyone pretty well knows the answer to that one.
on August 28,2011 | 11:35AM
mcc wrote:
Check out Likelike Highway from Kaneohe and see what our waterfront is going to look like, only along the waterfront it will be bigger and uglier.
on August 28,2011 | 01:04PM
mcc wrote:
The heading for this story should be "Rail is Oahu's future road to bankruptcy".
on August 28,2011 | 01:06PM
teedeebill wrote:
Ironically, the featured quote on timeshares in the Sunday paper applies to the puff piece on Honolulu rail ("we have a problem with how they're doing their numbers" Dee Dee Letts). If congestion is the target, implement congestion pricing (charge people to go into the central business district at certain times). A few years back, IBM implemented a system in Stockholm, Sweden, which has traffic flow and numbers similar to Honolulu's, for about $500 million. The result was a 20% reduction in traffic congestion. Seems like a bargain and a real pay-off whether or not the rail ever flies (as it were). By using Smart Card technology linked to annual vehicle registration on O'ahu, hizzonor could also keep that estimated 20% of total vehicles that are uninsured off the major arteries entirely. Solve the problems rather than creating more and more expensive ones.
on August 28,2011 | 04:32PM
inverse wrote:
Every well worn pro-rail talking point can be refuted unfortunately the reason they can get away with because no one in the media will publicly challenge them on it AND in all of the "informational" rail meetings that are held NO honest debate is allowed and all they do is respond to canned questions. Civil Beat and Hawaii Reporter try however they are small fish in a pond and most Oahu residents do not rely on them for information. To start the most glaring BS talking point is the rail will solve traffic congestion. In the EIS they submitted, they noted rail will NOT improve traffic congestion. Everyone knows and NO ONE will publicly dispute (because they would look like a total id iot) the fact (barring an accident/stall on a major freeway) that it is the West Oahu to town school commuting crowd on Oahu that tips weekday commuting traffic from bearable to gridlock. Star Advertiser, local media, the City and State all plan their transportation projects and strategies based on the public, private and UH school schedules. In fact Star Advertiser make the start of school and its affect on traffic front page news. If the $8++ BILLION starts in an empty field in Kapolei (Ho'opili) and ends at Ala Moana center, in order for a school commuter to use the train they will need to take a bus to the Ho'opili station, fight to board the train, most likely stand up to endure a 45 minute train ride that stops every mile, get off at Ala Moana Ctr and then board another bus to get to their final destination such as UH, Punahou, Iolani, Maryknoll, St. Louis, etc. etc. Such a commute would easily DOUBLE their commute time if they just drove in a private vehicle or used an express bus from Ewa Beach to UH Manoa. Therefore the rail will NOT be used by the W Oahu to town school commuting crowd and consequently the rail will NOT alleviate Oahu weekday morning traffic. This cannot be disputed and the issue of the affects of private, public and UH and how they all interact with one another and the effect it has on EVERYONE's weekday traffic commute time can be readily studied and analyzed using local mornings news drive times based on GPS technology. Supposedly the State was given Federal funding to make the H1 zipper bidirectional and that project has the potential to make a much greater impact on Oahu's traffic congestion than any Oahu train. What is the status of the H1 bidirectional zipper and when is going to be implemented?
on August 28,2011 | 09:52PM
Changalang wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on August 29,2011 | 09:31AM
AmbienDaze wrote:
If the purpose of the rail is to stimulate the economy, why not take the rail money, the .5 % GET, and give $6,000.00 back to each tax taxpayer on Oahu. That would stimulate the economy.
on August 29,2011 | 04:42PM
Kaumheimer wrote:
So who wrote this piece? I guarantee you, some PR firm financed by your tax dollars. At least Messrs Heen, Roth, Cayetano and Slater can write their own copy.
on August 29,2011 | 04:33PM
KeithHaugen wrote:
The City will not admit who wrote it. Just like they deny having anything to do with the earlier surveys/polls they paid to have conducted. They say they can't release the results (which show single-digit support for a railroad) because it is not their poll. It was ordered and paid for by a PR firm with OUR money, part of a $500,000 payment to a firm that was charged with making rail look good. We are being lied to (still) and misled by those we have entrusted with our money and our future.
on August 31,2011 | 04:53AM
niimi wrote:
Vote for Ben.
on March 27,2012 | 10:30PM
DABLACK wrote:
Stalemate?? What now ?? Our senoir senator "micro-managing" his people to do his wishes. I say, Remove all of the incumbents this year. What does this state got to lose?? We all hammer-jang now !! Money may not come from the feds. We may have to do what the senoir senator says.....!! But will it help all of us ?? TALK IS CHEAP !!
on May 5,2012 | 08:20AM
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