Has the train to nowhere reached its destination?

Nothing has been thrown more up in the air in the wake of Mufi Hannemann’s resignation as mayor and failed run for governor than his $5.5 billion O‘ahu rail project.

Hannemann got the 20-mile commuter line from Kapolei to Ala Moana approved on the force of his will and showed immense political skill in advancing it further in his first term than his predecessors managed in 30 years.

Now it’s a big question mark.

Mayor-elect Peter Carlisle says he supports rail, but there’s no clear sign if he’ll stay with the same plan and the same team or make changes that could result in big delays. He’ll be working with five new City Council members out of nine, and who knows what they’ll think.

Gov. Linda Lingle has held the up the environmental impact statement for a new financial review that won’t be finished until after she leaves office Dec. 6.

The two candidates to succeed her both say they support rail, but to different degrees. Republican James “Duke” Aiona says he’d finish Lingle’s financial review, while Democrat Neil Abercrombie has said he’s prepared to sign the EIS on his first day.

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano, Abercrombie’s friend and longtime political ally, has said he’ll sue if the EIS if it is approved in its current form. Carlisle says he’ll tap Cayetano’s expertise on transportation.

Some legislators are eager to raid the $500 million already collected from the half-cent O‘ahu excise tax for rail if there is any sign the project is stalled. Throwing the money into the state general fund would be a gross injustice to O‘ahu residents, who would effectively be paying a tax of 4.5 percent for the same state services neighbor islanders get for 4 percent.

When U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye recently made a big show of “begging” Lingle to sign the EIS, it was seen by some as a sign that he saw rail collapsing under its own weight and was setting up the Republican governor for the blame.

But it’s not that easy. If Hannemann had finished his term instead of throwing rail to the wind by quitting to run for governor with Inouye’s encouragement, the EIS delay would be a temporary bump in the road and Hannemann very likely could have had had construction well under way by time his term ended in 2012.

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35 Comments on “Has the train to nowhere reached its destination?”

  1. jayz43 Says:

    By saying he is prepared to sign the EIS on the first day without concern for the financial review, Abercrombie’s misstep has already alienated a huge chunk of voters.

  2. Kolea Says:

    Jayz,

    I am no a fan of the rail proposal Mufi was advancing with “immense political skill(?!).” But it is a helluva stretch to argue the financial review is a legitimate part of an environmental impact statement.

    Governor Lingle demonstrated contempt for the intent of Hawaii’s EIS laws. And conservatives generally have denounced citizens who have demanded EIS’s for projects which would clearly have a significant impact on the environment, claiming these groups were just using the EIS process to bog down projects they opposed.

    Look at the insistence the SuperFerry be exempted from the environmental review process. Many of the same forces and individuals opposing rail now, angrily demanded the SF be allowed to “sail” without first assessing possible risks or proposing measures to minimize those risks.

    And who was demanding a “financial review” of the SuperFerry? Oh, but that was a PRIVATE project, so its financial viability was not a proper concern of government.

    If you were to make that argument, you would actually be proving my point. Citizens and government agencies have a legitimate right to question the finances of the Train proposal. But such a review is NOT a legitimate part of an environmental review, the purpose of which is to assess possible negative impact on the environment. If it is proper to deny an EIS for the Train based upon its poor financial plan, it would have also been valid to demand a financial review of the SuperFerry.

    Properly used, an EIS is an important planning tool. Improperly used, it just adds cost and delay to projects, providing profits and jobs for a cottage industry, while giving opponents a weapon for killing a project they oppose.

    Much of the demand the EIS be used to stop the Train for economic reasons is blatantly hypocritical.

    I think the Train proposal should go back to the drawing board. Literally. Those public discussions over what kind of mass transit system makes the most sense should be allowed to happen, instead of having been shut down by the Mayor, using that “immense political skill” which apparently impressed Dave at the same time it was angering a broad swath of the people.

    Word of warning: some of the anti-Rail crowd includes fans of the Tea Party movement. If those clowns try to shut down civil debate over Rail like they arrogantly did over healthcare, the situation will get ugly. If Mufi’s approach to “planning” was heavyhanded and authoritarian, brownshirt tactics at public gatherings are even worse.

    It would get ugly, fast.

  3. WooWoo Says:

    Yes, Cayetano was a big winner on saturday as well.

    Hopefully, the rail project will collapse without Mufi’s “sheer force of will” to ride rail donations into higher office. The accumulated .5% (which will amount to well over $1B by the time this is played out) can be used to provide Oahu with a fleet of zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell buses. Instead of $5B, visual blight, questionable financials, and being locked in to ancient technology, we can be on the cutting edge.

    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/projectsandschemes/environment/8444.aspx

    This is not some pie-in-the-sky brainstorm. London has already begun a multi-year test of hydrogen fuel cell buses, whose only emissions are water vapor.

    Equally important, this transit solution can serve the entire island. I would happily pay the .5% permanently to create and maintain a fleet of this type of bus. For several hundred million, many traffic upgrades could be made to improve traffic flow. Ultimately, we would use less money to get better results than the rail.

    The only losers in this would be the construction related groups that were hoping to cash in on rail. I have nothing against these people; I look forward to supporting them when they propose building something useful and worthwhile.

    Meanwhile, in the Gov race…

    Aiona has made a strong first move. I hope Abercrombie accepts Aiona’s challenge to six, in-depth debates. Neil can certainly hold his own in any debate, and so I hope that this happens because it truly will raise the level of discourse.

    On a chess-match level, this puts Abercrombie on the defensive. The best he can do is accept all six debates, but asking for any less than that automatically gives Aiona a victory (not a big one, but still, a victory). Strong opening move. Obviously, somebody in the Aiona camp has got some game.

  4. David Shapiro Says:

    I was impressed with Hannemann’s skill in getting the transit tax approved by the Legislature and governor and getting the project approved by the council. He did what Fasi couldn’t and in a very short time. I was unimpressed with some of the contracting that ensued and how the planning, review and comment process became a massive PR campaign in which real discussion was squelched and those who asked fair questions were bashed.

  5. Tommy Says:

    Um, London has a magnificent public transit system that includes buses, rail and ferries. Honolulu, meanwhile, has a very good bus system, no trains and no ferries. As someone who rides DaBus everyday, (and who is composing this on a smartphone while riding a hybrid city bus) I’m pulling hard for the rail to finally — finally! — happen in Honolulu. I hope Carlisle has the cojones and political game to break ground next year on rail and start building the darn thing. It would practically guarantee his re-election.

  6. WooWoo Says:

    Tommy-

    London also has 7 million people in the city proper and 12 million people in the metro area. I didn’t mention London as a model for honolulu, I only mentioned London in the context that zero-emission hydrogen buses are already “on the streets” as a viable technology. You may already be aware that an attempt was made to offer a ferry service, but nobody rode it. Also, if it would “guarantee” Carlisle’s re-election, you would have thought that rail would have guaranteed Mufi’s triumph as well.

    I don’t ride the bus every day, but I do ride occasionally. I’m curious, Tommy, what do you dislike about the bus that you think rail will be better at? I personally have no big beefs with the bus, except for of course when I get the occasional homeless seatmate, but that will be no different on the train.

  7. Michael Says:

    “If” the rail is built and is found profitable, it would seem the only thing going in circles with a track that both ends meet. (+)?

    Since this is Oahu’s baby, an audit should be first to see where money can be saved and used wisest. Mass transit with more people living on Oahu won’t make a difference if more cars or more people keep on being added through the years and all live on a “Table top”. Many years have gone by since planning. Many since it was first an Idea of Mayor Fasi. Still on paper. (-)

  8. hugh clark Says:

    Mufi’s campaign lost my vote but as a formerly regular Honolulu visitor and, in retirement, a regular traveler to foreign lands, the mass transit (train) is the answer.

    It made Bangkok a changed city. Despite its age it functionsn in London, which has run put of room for cars. It’s dirty and crowded but gets you there in Rome. It’s noisy in Madrid, functional in Sydney and outstanding in Brussels. Even my daughter at age 12 figured out the mix of confusing lines in Paris.

    If Honolulu wants to consider itself a world stop, it will embrace Mufi’s best legacy. Right now with a clumsy international aiport and lots of other detractions, Honolulu needs the rail to move succesfully through this century.

  9. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    As regular bus rider, here’s what I don’t like about the bus system – late & irregular schedules, limited service at 7 pm.

    Unfortunately, I live in Kailua so I would still be stuck on the bus going into town, but I am also going out to Pearl City and beyond 15 times or more a month – by car. Doing it by bus takes too much time.

    On the other hand, taking a bus into town, getting on the train and riding out there quickly & quietly would be a wonderful way to get around.

    I just LOVE the way that people who would rather cut off their ahhhhmms than ride public transit tell me that riding “improved” buses is just as good as riding a train.

    Hey, why don’t you join the working class and ride the ride instead of blahblahblah.

    Kolea is right on the mark with his comments.

  10. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    FYI: The City’s Departments of Planning & Permitting and Environmental Services are assuming that the population of O`ahu will be 1.4 million people by 2023. That’s a 50% increase in just over 12 years. Are you ready for another half a million cars on O`ahu? I’m not.

  11. ppcc Says:

    Michael:
    In general, rail for mass transportation is NEVER profitable. Instead of wishful thinking, lets look at REAL WORLD examples such as Parsons/Bombardier 4 mile elevated train that is BANKRUPT to the tune of 1/2 to 1 BILLION dollars. If you have ever used the LV elevated rail it is incredibly inconvenient and does not even go to the LV airport. Even if it did go to the airport it still would be impractical as all the LV train stops are at the back of the hotel and check in or access to the main strip is all in the front. The trek from back to front or vice versa of any LV hotel on the main strip is one long arduous, labryinthian journey. The LV rail project was a failure from the get go. Mufi’ train route /stops will follow a similar fate as the LV train as well.

    hugh clark:
    How do you equate Mufi’s rail as any improvement for Hawaii as a visitor destination? Are you aware that Mufi’s Airport rail stop is quite a distance away from the airport & baggage claim area, given they originally had major problems with rail stop height issues because it was too close to airport runways? You also realize Mufi’s rail terminates at Ala Moana Ctr so that visitors will end up taking a wiki bus from the airport to the train terminal, endure train stops every mile and then have to get off at Ala Moana Ctr, then pay for a taxi or get on another bus to finally get to their hotels in Waikiki?

    Do you also realize that on Oahu, the weekday school commuting crowd from West Oahu to Honolulu and back is what tips traffic from bearable to gridlock, and since Mufi’s train is useless to them, they STILL will continue to travel by personal car or an express bus? Therefore visitors and Oahu residents will STILL be stuck in traffic even after the train is completed. Also do you realize the incredible in town gridlock traffic that will result because of rail construction and that will greatly inconvenience visitors, residents AND negatively impact commerce for all businesses located even remotely near rail construction work? Mufi, Parson and Yoshioka have given NOTHING but one line rail talking points that are completely devoid of any reality regarding their rail project and I think Hawaii voters have made a clear statement by “firing” Mufi & Caldwell, that they do NOT want be “railroaded” when it comes to the most expensive, complicated, public works project in Hawaii’s history.

    I agree the concept of rail on Oahu has merits. However the purpose of the rail HAS to be to benefit the Oahu commuters and provide them with a REAL, more efficient transportation alternative. The purpose of the rail project is NOT to be a make work project to make special interest groups such as consultants, certain real estate developers and construction companies vast amounts of $$$$ at taxpayer’s expense. That is EXACTLY what Mufi’s rail project is all about. Anyway, even if the next Gov signs off on the EIS, there still will be a major lawsuit, LIKE the SuperFerry, against the rail, based on how the EIS or some other key aspect of how Mufi’s rail project was handled. You would need at least a year or so for that to play its way through court system before even legally beginning construction.

    You want to improve the visitor experience on Oahu? How about insuring their visit to Hawaii is safe and devoid of punks, robbers, pan handlers, etc. Also visitors have mentioned they are very unhappy with homeless who have overtaken major park and or nearby sidewalks and many bus stops and shelters. Also how about getting our construction workers to build a SAFE network of bicycle lanes so that residents and visitors can travel around Oahu in a very “green” and health conscience manner? With the upcoming Nissan Leaf and other full electric vehicles starting to replace gas engine cars, Hawaii can can tout we will lead the world as a truly “green” world visitor and resort destination. Lets build photovoltaic “farms”, NOT on Lani or Molokai but in places such as the top of the roof of all of Ala Moana Ctr, Waikiki shopping plaza, large schools, gov’t buildings, etc. and other large buildings with flat roofs that are exposed to major amount of sunlight and further reduce our dependence on foreign (including Middle eastern) oil

    Lets be honest about the situation, people who can afford a Hawaii vacation are NOT impressed with some ugly, slow commuter train to nowhere on Oahu. What will impress them is a safe, clean, “green” Oahu that will allow them to combine their stay with a healthy, “fitness” vacation by allowing them to travel around Oahu via bicycle, or even Segway via SAFE bicycle routes & paths.

  12. ppcc Says:

    correction:

    LV = Las Vegas

  13. shaftalley Says:

    non-union workers will probably be completely prohibited by the various authoratarian overlords at the corporate/labor union/gov’t. complex. to help build the railroad. i am non-union and will be willing to work for $11-12 an hour,plus plate lunch.

  14. WooWoo Says:

    Cap/Doc-

    I’m beginning to wonder if you’re really pro-environment or actually just anti-car. The buses I linked to are vastly superior to the current proposed rail project from the environmental standpoint.

  15. Michael Says:

    ppcc:
    Oahu cannot afford to build the Rail, PERIOD. Build it and they will come, is only in Field of Dreams.
    What I said was a joke that meant going in circles the rail and budget will meet. The track record or track says it all. It won’t happen. The facts are in what was said by those purposing to build rail. The numbers do not add up. Many questions were unanswered.
    I did not say there will be profit, I said “If”.

    My real world was the Original Hawaii 5-0 not a remake. Oahu now is all cement and my time there were more coconut trees.

    What goes on in Las Vegas should stay in Las Vegas.

  16. Richard Gozinya Says:

    It always struck me – and I’ll be the first to admit anecdotes ain’t data – that many Hawaii folk would support a rail system if it seemed to make fundamental sense. In other words, if it went to the logical places, was at least not insanely expensive, was part of an overall plan to seriously mitigate traffic congestion and did not involve all the shenanigans and politics.

    Now, that’s pie in the sky I suppose. But I keep hearing that rail’s a reasonable idea but the way the rail has been done to date is just plain crazy.

  17. Michael Says:

    Richard Gozinya Says:

    By your saying “Hawaii folks”, you are saying
    Mainland thinking is data, since you did in the past mention that you are from the East Coast. Hawaii anecdotes are not. I assume if you are refering to me as Hawaii folks,
    I have never commented saying facts but 2 cents
    or my opinion and I speak for myself since I am a minority here.
    Watch out for Newtons law. What goes up must come down.

    I would support a rail if designed to work not just look good on paper. This is local thinking. If no more money I cannot buy things I can’t afford.
    Caprire?

  18. Richard Gozinya Says:

    Michael~

    My comments were not in any way directed at you. By “Hawaii folk” I mean all the peoples of Hawaii. I’m not making any Mainland comparisons. By the way, I’m not from the East Coast although I did once stay in a Holiday Express outside of Hoboken 🙂

    My point is a simple one, I think. Some people demonize the concept of rail but other people I know think maybe rail is OK but the problem is how we are going about it.

  19. shaftalley Says:

    the only way that “alternative energy” may work is for the government to stop subsidizing oil companies.

  20. shaftalley Says:

    i meant my last comment to point out what woo-woo has mentioned about the hydrogen fuel cell powered buses.

  21. Tommy Says:

    I like DaBus because it saves me money on gas and the insane parking rates downtown. It’s like $200 a month for an unreserved stall where my car can bake in the sun. A bus pass is $60 a month. The math right there makes sense. The greenie in me appreciates keeping my auto exhaust out of the atmosphere.

    But buses are slowed to a c..r..a..w..l like cars and trucks during morning rush hour. At least i can listen to podcasts and skim the internet on my phone while the bus chugs along.

    I think a rail line would be much faster. Also, sometimes I look out the bus window at the cars filling the road and wonder where the hell are the next 10,000 or 50,000 autos are going to go. Can’t build new roads because land is too scarce.

    I lived in the Bay Area and loved catching BART and the Muni in SF. I lived in the reasonably nearby suburbs while working in wonderful city of SF thanks to BART.

    When there was first talk about another try at bringing the rail to Honolulu, I was very interested. It seems like a sensible idea in Honolulu, and something we are going to need as the population keeps growing and more cars are added to the road.

  22. Kolea Says:

    @Richard Gozinya,

    I agree with your remarks. Unfortunately, the way the rail debate developed, we were forced to align with either the Mayor or the hardline anti-rail folks. Mufi misled some of us by saying the city would defer the selction of a particular system until after we attained consensus on the basic question of whether we wanted a rail system at all.

    When I approached the folks opposing rail, I found them an extremely ideological lot and realized any effort I would put into the effort would be used by the Eric Ryans, Cliff Slaters and Sam Sloms to advance their agenda, which was clearly NOT how to reduce traffic congestion, move people around, reduce emissions or engage in intelligent urban planning.

    OTOH, the pro-rail group was motivated mostly by Mufi’s ambitions and the imperative of generating large contracts as a means of getting kickbacks in the form of campaign contributions.

    So Richard, you, me, the architects and a large swath of reasonable Oahu residents had no opportunity for having our voices heard. The new mayor, the new council and, to a lesser degree, new governor, should restart the community dialog, trying to attain consensus after a full airing of the options.

    But perhaps the “Town Meeting” format has been destroyed by those who see such fora as stages for acting out their political psychoses rather than discussing things in concert with their neighbors?

  23. Michael Says:

    Richard:
    Enjoy your pie. I would refudiate your remark
    but I come to celebrate it.

  24. zzzzzz Says:

    I wonder how much support the Mufi train would have if there was an alternative public works project, or group of projects, that would generate a similar number of jobs (and campaign contribution kickbacks).

    I like Kolea’s summary, but I’d add that a lot of the support for rail came from people who didn’t really care about the train itself, or traffic or urban planning, but just saw a job for themselves or someone close to them.

  25. Doug Carlson Says:

    To all who’ve called it a “train to nowhere,” where do you think its route is? You call Oahu’s Second City, Waipahu, Aiea, the Airport, downtown and Ala Moana “nowhere?” To those who call it “slow,” compared to what — traffic jams on the H-1 (like Wednesday morning)? To those who say “we can’t afford it” what’s your expertise on the subject? To those who decry the “PR effort,” look at the misinformation that’s floating around on rail, including in this column and comments, that has to be confronted. I’m a communications consultant on the project and have “bashed” no one. True, I’ve called out people like Cliff Slater for a calculated campaign to misinform and mislead the public (see several July posts at the Yes2Rail blog). His and others’ distortions and attempts to derail the project certainly give the public information effort context.. Please do read my blog on this project.

  26. ppcc Says:

    Doug Carlson:

    I’ve never met Slater, and personally could care less about him. However lets talk about Mufi’s RAIL and NOT personalities:

    To start, I am only repeating myself on Shapiro’s blog and I am sure you have read my posts but I noticed you avoid addressing my points that I have made time and time again. I am tired of repeating myself but I would like you to directly address my points. Barring a major accident on the freeway, EVERYONE who lives on Oahu knows that it is the school commuting crowd from West Oahu to Honolulu and back is what tips Oahu weekday commuter traffic from bearable to gridlock. They consist of students, faculty, staff from UH and other private schools. The majority of schools reside in one section of Honolulu that includes UH, Punahou, Iolani, Hanahauoli, St Francis, St Loius, etc. etc. Therefore in order for these school commuters to use Mufi’s train they have to take a bus to the rail station which is located in an empty field in Kapolei, cite of the FAILED Hoopili development, board the train, endure 20 stops every mile, then get off at Ala Moana ctr and then take another City Bus and possibly have to walk to get to their final destination.

    Given that your are a PAID consultant, I am sure you watch the morning local news shows and using GPS technology, they give the travel times, including the time to drive from Kapolei to Honolulu, which varies from about 40 minutes to the worst case time close to 70-80 minutes. Again this is barring a major traffic accident on any of the major freeway. However your train solution of bus, train(40+minutes), bus solution will easily DOUBLE the time it takes for commuters via personal car or Express bus. The State has hired tow trucks/vehicle support guys to man the freeways during morning commute hours so the worst case scenario in terms of time delay of accidents/stalls has been minimized. In addition your bus/train/bus/walk solution is almost as vulnerable to a major accident as well.

    Also the State has already secured Fed funds to make the H1 zipper lane bidirectional and with the HOV vehicle lane extending over the H1 viaduct and Nimitz hwy to about where Zippy’s on Nimitz is located, potentially extending the contraflow to Ala Moana blvd and slightly beyond will give Express bus Riders and carpoolers almost an unimpeded “straight shot” all the way from Kapolei to UH Manoa! Therefore even at it worst peak gridlock traffic, this potential future exclusive Express bus route will almost guarantee the Kapolei to Honolulu Express route will remain close to a 40 minute travel time for the entire MORNING! Under this situation your train is USELESS and that is based on fact and not personal bias. I could go on and on and factually show that Mufi’s train is completely inappropriate for Oahu but will stop until you respond to this point.

    In terms of the trains “affordability” Mufi has already has diverted a couple hundred million from The Bus budget and has furloughed City workers to cover rail in the City budget, so to me and many others who voted against Mufi and Caldwell, that budget tradeoff to pay for the train is unacceptable and considered “unaffordable”. Technically, I will agree with you Hawaii can pay for the construction of the train and the maintenance costs that will last forever by permanently diverting funds from gov’t employee salaries, gov’t services, The Bus, raising taxes such as the GET, etc. but for me and others that is NOT worth the price of Mufi’s train. I might want to add that the 4 mile long Las Vegas train built by Parson/Bombardier, the SAME companies that will build Oahu’s rail, is BANKRUPT to the tune of 1/2 to 1 BILLION dollars AND after only 6 years of service they will need about $100 MILLION to pay for maintenance and upgrades for the LV train. In the LV case, it was purchased with bonds and LV residents are not directly responsible for the massive debt that the LV train has created. HOWEVER with Mufi’s rail, Hawaii taxpayers will be fully responsible for ALL outstanding costs and debt incurred by the rail.

    I am not making this up as anyone can perform an Internet search regarding the Las Vegas rail or before leaving for work/school in the morning, watch any of the local morning news shows and make a mental note of the commute times throughout the morning and over a long period of time when private & public schools & UH are in school and out. Also if you or anyone else studied this long enough you would learn some very informative scenarios such as during the time of spring break, on one or two days during that time UH, Punahou and other private schools where on break, however public schools where in session and during that entire morning commute, the travel time from Kapolei to Honolulu never went beyond about 40+ minutes. Therefore one conclusion that is based on FACTUAL information is that if the City and State can get the private school and UH school commuting crowd to utilize mass transportation, such as the H1 zipper/Ala Moana contraflow Express bus solution I mentioned above, weekday traffic commute time can be greatly reduced WITHOUT taxpayers spending $6-10++ BILLION dollars on a train. If what I outlined can be further validated and confirmed by independent sources, then the term “TRAIN TO NOWHERE” is a valid description of Mufi’s train.

  27. Doug Carlson Says:

    I may be PAID to consult on rail, but I don’t get PAID enough to spend as much time as you do here. You either believe rail is a good solution or you don’t. Trying to convert a non-believer is futile. If anybody else is paying attention, here are some points in response to ppcc, whoever that is. Rail will work for many people, and it won’t for others. ppcc’s effort to create a bus-rail-bus nightmare of a commute is pretty laughable, since people do this by the millions all over the world every day. In the coming decades, tens of thousands of people will commute with rail by walking to and from the stations, maybe from their newly built home near a station. No major effort involved. No car to drive, park, gas up and maintain at considerable expense. What’s gas going to cost in 2050, ppcc? What will electricity cost if everyone’s converted to electron cars by then?

    You see, this isn’t rocket science. Go ahead and fund the zipper lane. Put more buses on the streets. Stagger work times. Do all of that and there STILL is no alternative to sitting in traffic, no true mobility to move through the community reliably and on-time, no ability to predict your arrival time at your destination before you depart on your commute. Millions can do that today, but we can’t here. And I haven’t even mentioned open space, transit-oriented development, reduced energy and pollution thanks to rail. Have you read the FEIS, ppcc?

    Finally, this isn’t Mufi’s train anymore. It’s the community’s project, and the community backs rail. Just as Panos.

  28. Doug Carlson Says:

    Previous post should have ended: “Just ask Panos.”

  29. ppcc Says:

    Carlson:

    Actually only took me about 10 minutes to write my response. As expected you don’t directly address my points, instead divert attention to Oahu’s traffic problems by making gross generalizations such as “…people do this by the millions all over the world every day.” Seems you are trying to turn the validity of the rail into a “faith-based project” instead of based on facts and knowledge that Oahu residents have regarding their traffic commute. Like Obama your argument for Oahu’s rail is “change we believe”? I disagree with your statement that the rail is a “community project” or that “community backs rail”. Seems more like a special interest project where select private companies, developers, contractors, etc stand to make BILLIONS at taxpayer’s expense. I don’t think I am in the minority for this opinion given your former bosses Mufi and Caldwell have been “fired” from holding public office.

    What now? I am hoping Carlisle does what he says he will do and scrutinize the City budget, INCLUDING all of the taxpayer monies that has been spent on rail “public relations” and God knows what else has been spent under the guise of rail “expenses”.

  30. Doug Carlson Says:

    pp, I’m not asking you to believe anything I write, because I know you won’t. I’m asking others who might be reading these comments to use their common sense. Check out what INDEPENDENT, OBJECTIVE observers like Howard Dicus call the election — a referendum in favor of rail. Ask themselves why rail works in cities all over the world — both big and small — and consider why it can’t possibly work here, which is your position. You can’t be dissuaded from seeing it the way you see it. That’s you, but maybe even you can appreciate “you” doesn’t equal “the community.” That would be over the top, but it’s just another issue we rail communicators have to deal and dispense with.

  31. shaftalley Says:

    if we are going to have the railroad,do it now otherwise the costs incurred by any delays will cripple our city,county and its’ taxpaying citizens.need leadership now.do it now or don’t do it at all.start now or terminate with extreme prejudice.

  32. Doug Carlson Says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more, shaftalley.

  33. zzzzzz Says:

    I guess I may need to do as Doug suggests to see why an election in which two of the train’s biggest propopnents, Mufi and Caldwell, lost, is a referendum in favor of rail.

    Okino, another strong proponent of rail, also lost.

    Doug, I guess you also disagree with Kolea 7:02.

  34. Doug Carlson Says:

    Prevedouros and all the Cliff Slater-endorsed City Council candidates were buried. They were running on an anti-rail platform, plain and simple, and the election results were just as plain. Spin away if you like, but the avowedly anti-rail candidates who made it their primary pitch were trounced.

  35. Kimo Sabey Says:

    Hello,this is just the beginning as the EPA will go after the City to show funding for the sewers and the sludge. If they go to court a judge would give the sewers project the funding for the upgrades if the City does not-very simplified I know but that could be a hurdle for the above ground expensive rail. If instead the price is reduced by $2 bill using some ground level rail and say hydrogen for fuel it may be supplemented as the plan really meant to have. Not the “pledge” to West Oahu developers and citizens to have another way to beat the traffic. Baloney as the supplements are why it is starting out there instead of the city center out. If the reduced amount saving is then put into the sewer agreement we could see both moving forward. Any way we will pay and pay as taxpayers for this explosion of public spending.The use of sewer sludge (to make electricity) to make hydrogen could be directly used as a real solution in public transportation. Electric overhead wires or a third electrified steel rail could fail or be problematic. We need to look at these modern solutions to the total picture.


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