What do you know about the rail project? Did you know: · Trains will run every 3 minutes in each direction; a train every 1½ minutes at 83 decibels! · They say it will cost $5.5 billion. Experience says $7 billion. Property tax hike coming? · Riders are supposed to increase by 31,000 daily more than if we do nothing; that is $212,000 for every new rider! · To run the train increases its share of the city budget from 11 percent to 15 percent. Property tax hike? · The city says, “Traffic congestion will be worse in the future with rail than what it is today.” (more)
Former Gov. Cayetano Warns Current Governor Lingle: Review Environmental Impact Statement Carefully Before Authorizing Most Expensive Rail System in the Nation
Former Democratic Gov. Benjamin Cayetano backed his political rival Republican Gov. Linda Lingle yesterday saying she shouldn’t rush to approve the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed $5.5 billion Honolulu rail system without first reviewing the document carefully. That may seem like common sense, but Hawaii’s most powerful Senior Senator, Daniel K. Inouye, is “begging” Lingle to sign the EIS immediately before it ever reaches her desk. (more)
Last year, TRIP, a national transportation watchdog group, rated Honolulu as having the second-worst urban roads in the nation. On top of all the potholes, Honolulu residents also pay the third highest cost for extra vehicle maintenance due to poor road conditions. The price tag is $770 a year in added costs. (more)
Hawaii, and in particular the island of Oahu where the majority of residents live, has been a battleground for mass transit advocates and opponents over the last 30 years. The fight over the best alternatives to traffic congestion has intensified as the state’s population has swollen to 1.2 million, with more than 800,000 people residing on Oahu, the majority of whom prefer to commute by automobile, the more personalized, convenient and flexible transit option. With more commuters driving to and from work, dropping their children at school and other activities, traffic has naturally become more congested, particularly on Oahu’s freeways during the morning and afternoon drives times. (more)
With so much attention on plans for a city railroad, it's worth taking stock of the government strangulation of transportation over the past 70 years. Few people today know what jitneys are, but there used to be lots of jitneys and the people of Honolulu loved them. That is, until 1940 when the government put them all out of business. In a free market, jitneys travel major traffic routes and pick up and drop off customers all along the way. They don’t have fixed routes or schedules, so they can gather up customers during the rush hour and can take them door-to-door if they choose. The service fits neatly between that of buses and taxis. (more)
The City and County of Honolulu has pursued adding rail transit to the mix of commute options, which currently includes bus, vanpool and ferry in addition to private cars and private bus service. Because of the multi-billion dollar price tag and the 14-year temporary increase to the state's General Excise Tax (GET) to pay for construction costs, the issue has been widely debated. Some ideas have been circulated as (unsubstantiated) facts. These include that: 1) public transportation ridership will increase once the rail system is built, 2) rail consumes less energy than other options, particularly cars, 3) the carbon footprint of the rail system is substantially smaller than that of other transportation options. (more)
TheBoat (Honolulu’s city-run subsidized $2 ferry service) is an expensive and time consuming commute option plagued by high fixed costs and low ridership. Yet, the City & County of Honolulu continues to run the moneylosing service despite the fact that its own existing bus service and commuting using personal vehicles are both less expensive and faster options. (more)
Comparing Leeward Oahu Traffic Alternatives
Faced with the problem of increasing congestion on Oahu motorways, Mayor Mufi Hannemann and others have come out strongly in favor of a rail transit system. While rail is sometimes offered as the best solution for the island's traffic woes, a recent study by Professor Panos D. Prevedouros and the University of Hawaii Congestion Study Group (UHCS) Transportation Alternatives Analysis for Mitigating Traffic Congestion between Leeward Oahu and Honolulu shows that this is not the case. (more)
Honolulu’s airport taxi system, the largest single source of revenue for cab companies in the state, has been void of competition for more than 30 years because the contract to operate the airport cab service has gone almost exclusively to one company – SIDA of Hawaii. Other cab drivers and cab company owners seeking work at the Honolulu International Airport say the system has not been operated fairly, legally or ethically by SIDA, which has hurt their businesses and hurt customers seeking immediate and affordable transportation. Now Hawaii’s new Republican Governor, Linda Lingle, is faced with the opportunity to change that system – or leave it as is. What her administration decides will affect more than 2,000 cab drivers, several private cab and transportation companies and thousands of visitors and residents who take cabs each day from the Honolulu International Airport. (more)
The Impact of Rail Transit on Urban Livability
The stampede to plan and build rail transit lines in American cities has led and is leading to a series of financial and mobility disasters. They are financial disasters because rail projects spend billions of taxpayers’ dollars and produce little in return. They are mobility disasters because rail transit almost always increases regional congestion and usually reduces transit’s share of commuting and general travel. (more)
Correcting historical revisionism and misconceptions promoted by the Akaka Bill.
How Fast Does The State Government Spend Your Money?