Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Second Poll Shows Strong Support for Rail

Today’s Advertiser reports on a 59-38 percent public opinion poll split in favor of Honolulu’s proposed rail transit project.

That’s right up there with LBJ over Goldwater (61.1 / 38.5), FDR over Landon (60.8 / 36.5%) and Nixon over McGovern (60.7 / 37.5%). In other words, these are landslide numbers that reveal an enough-with-the-delays mindset among those who were polled by the respected local firm of OmniTrak Group Inc.

Will this result be duplicated on November 4 when Oahu citizens apparently will have a chance to vote on the issue? Time will tell, but in the words of many out there who’ve watched and waited for this mobility-enhancing project to begin, “It’s about time!”

We do have to agree with long-time rail opponent Cliff Slater, who complains in the story about the wording of the poll in asking respondents whether they favored or opposed rail after hearing this statement: “The City and County of Honolulu has approved developing a fixed-rail mass transit system as a means to reduce traffic.”

The question could have been worded more artfully. As Yes 2 Rail and others have said consistently, traffic “reduction” isn’t what any transit project can do over the long haul if you just look at gross numbers on the roads now verses the future.

A Matter of Personal Choice

Traffic will increase; that’s a no-brainer. What rail will do is reduce the number of cars on the road compared to the number that would be clogging traffic if rail weren’t built. That’s a plus, but more importantly, commuters who choose to ride – and that’s the key; it’ll be a matter of personal choice – will completely avoid traffic. Life will be markedly better as noted in a letter in today’s Advertiser by a Makiki resident.

So bring on November 4. The people deserve their say. And in the finest traditions of Hawaii elections, it’s time to Get Out the Vote.

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