Monday, October 26, 2009

Star-Bulletin: ‘Foolish’ Not To Build Rail Now

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin today continues the daily newspapers’ editorial support for Honolulu’s rail project. Disagreeing with rail critics who urge a go-slow approach, the paper says “…prompt action is warranted to help Hawaii’s economy and keep costs down.” The editorial concludes:

“The reliability of future federal funds is backed by U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye’s chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee. It would be foolish not to capitalize on the circumstances at the very time stimulus is needed.”

The Honolulu Advertiser took a similar position in an editorial on October 14.


NessaLa said...

I'm so very happy that I came upon your blog this morning! I am coaching a Hawaii FIRST Lego League Robotics team that will attend one of our state tournaments this November 7th in Honolulu. Their presentation topic is transportation & our kids (9to 13 yrs old)have decided that a maglev train should be the center piece of a comprehensive public transportation system for Oahu that includes electric commuter buses and shared "Flex Car" style access to personal electric transportion vehicles such as Segways.

I know everyone on our team will find this blog a wonderful resource. Wish I would have found you sooner, but better late than never!
Vanessa Brockus

Doug Carlson said...

Hi, Vanessa. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I'm pleased you think your team will find this blog a good resource.

I'm not surprised your students are impressed by the magnetic levitation concept. Levitation of any kind has always been intriguing, but here's what I'd say to them:

Maglev is still in its infancy; there are no such systems in the Americas. The technology is closely held, in contrast with steel-on-steel technology, which is time-tested and perfected. That means there are few options for a municipality wanting to build maglev -- maybe only one supplier.

In a nutshell, Honolulu simply can't afford to be the "test track" for maglev in the United States. As for Segways, each of these technologies has its place, but a mass transit system must serve mass numbers of customers -- day in, day out, good weather and bad. Segways seem like a pretty unattractive way to get around town in a kona storm.

I hope your team spends some time studying Honolulu's well-conceived rail plan, for which groundbreaking is right around the corner.

Goodluck with the robotics tournament. Aloha, Doug