Earl Arakaki’s rail letter needs a reply (“Listen to experts who predicted rail’s failure,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, May 19). Had rail opponents like Cliff Slater, Panos Prevedouros, and Randall Roth not been involved in numerous lengthy costly delays, rail may have been completed today.
Sadly, rail has lost visionaries like Fujio Matsuda (“Building rail from Kapolei to Manoa meets intention of Oahu Plan,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, May 29, 2016). This is the one eloquent commentary we should all read. His end-point clarity still remains amazing: a true understanding of integrated transportation, not just a commuter route but a means of connecting our tourist resorts, commercial centers and university campuses in West, Leeward and Central Oahu. Stopping rail at Middle Street is a profane desecration of his vision.
Google “Ho Chi Minh metro systems” and see a complex integrated metropolitan transit system coming online. Sadly, Hawaii remains “Third World” without a single alternative to surface transportation other than TheBus.
Infrastructure is now a top national priority. With a Democratic president, Congress and transportation department, we have no excuse for failure.
Keep rail transit outside center of Honolulu
As Honolulu officials and editors finally accept that finances dictate that the rail route be reconsidered, it’s also time to correct a flaw that would be fatal to the city.
How could anyone have endorsed a noisy, raised rail running through Honolulu, cutting off mountain-to-sea views while ruining the pleasant uncrowded areas makai of Iolani Palace and Kawaiahao Church? That area and the views were left to us by previous generations, planners and decision makers, and we need to preserve it.
The rail going through Honolulu was a mistaken view of the future, and instead it needs to end outside of the city, where it could convert to bus service or ground-level trams as in many cities throughout the world.
City officials take cake for mismanagement
We have all heard about governmental projects that have turned out to be pocket-money boondoggles for politicians, with federal handouts and constantly escalating costs borne by taxpayers, and yet have ended up with nothing but billions of dollars in cost overruns without completion in sight. I think Honolulu takes the cake for this mismanagement, hands down.
As a project first envisioned in the 1960s, with a first draft in 2006 and an estimated cost of $2.5 billion, rail transit has ballooned to more than $12 billion with more than $8 billion already spent.
Then it was announced that the unfinished project’s already-laid track was too wide and the already-purchased train wheels were too narrow. Now the problem is whether or not to replace 32 wheels on the 20 trains purchased or have new track manufactured and shipped in. That is not to mention that the new proposed date for completion is 2033 — if funding can be found. I’m not making this up!
Politicians are politicians. and politicians’ pockets are deep, unlike their thought processes.
Donald D. Graber
HTA should mitigate tourism, not promote it
The general tenor of media coverage in recent months seems to indicate that officials are looking to economic forecasters to tell us when we will be “back to normal,” rather than making meaningful efforts to diversify our economy. Local residents overwhelming support such an undertaking.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority has very successfully sold our islands as the world’s premier travel destination. Let our travel partners, hotels and other travel-related businesses, which profit from tourism, do the marketing.
The time has come to realign HTA’s mission with the community. The HTA has a role to play in mitigating the impacts of tourism, cultural education and assisting travelers in distress. No more publicly funded marketing. Already, more people want to come here than is comfortable for many local residents.
Justice system allows felons to roam streets
Regarding “Felon charged for allegedly setting fire to man” (Star-Advertiser, May 18): How is it that a known and convicted felon with eight priors (burglary, kidnapping, robbery, assault, sex assault and terroristic threatening) is still on our streets committing additional acts of violence and crime? How many more felonious acts must this person commit before he is incarcerated? Why is our judicial system so dysfunctional and ineffectual?
It only exacerbates the erosion of our city resources in dealing with these crimes. I am appalled at the leniency of our criminal justice system, which continually releases these individuals back on to our streets, only for them to commit further atrocities and drive up our crime statistics.
When are we going to wise up and realize that this sort of justice doesn’t work? Our citizens deserve better.
Ige right to stick with state’s mask mandate
I appreciate Gov. David Ige continuing the mask mandate. It takes guts to stand up to all the self-centered whining about personal liberties. And it takes intelligence to provide clarity amid confusing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Our war with COVID-19 is not over. We now have the tools and know-how to win. The only question is, do we have the leadership and community spirit to hang in there until the job is done? Mask use is a minor inconvenience considering what’s at stake.
St. Louis Heights
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