Sunday, January 3, 2010

News Bulletin: Federal Agencies are Dotting All the I’s and Crossing the T’s in Rail Project Review

You could have predicted today’s story in the Honolulu Advertiser, and many of us did. Honolulu’s rail project did not break ground in 2009 as envisioned in the City’s aggressive timetable.

Federal agencies are taking longer to review the plan and the system’s integration with their activities than the original timetable had provided. That’s not a cause for alarm, as the anti-rail faction hopes; rather, it’s a prudent approach to the largest construction project in the history of the state, as Council Chair Todd Apo suggests in this story.

The anti-rail crowd is glomming onto the timetable’s slippage. We’ll give them that much – it has slipped – but not the rest of their gloomy predictions. This year will be the most significant in Honolulu’s decades-long effort to build a grade-separated transit system – an alternative to being stuck in traffic congestion in the morning and evening rush hours and increasingly during the middle of the day, too.

Here's our New Year's prediction: Rail will break ground at the earliest possible moment and not a moment sooner. And the sooner the better.


Anonymous said...

Large infrastructure projects are famous -- infamous, more like it -- for delays. So I'm not surprised that the Honolulu rail system has missed a few deadlines.

But keep pushing it forward. I'm from Seattle. The new rail system there got an ungodly amount of negative press and PR during the build out. It was almost like some reporters had a vendetta against the rail and Sound Transit (the agency running the rail). But having spent the holidays there and catching the rail almost every day, I can say it is totally worth it. So much easier to get around Seattle with rail. My friends back home raved about it and I can see why.

Keep pushing for rail. In the end, it will be worth it.

Anonymous said...

may good for Seattle but Oahu is not Seattle...

Doug Carlson said...

You're right about Oahu not being Seattle....and Honolulu isn't either. But Honolulu is even better for a rail transit system thanks to its long and narrow layout. That's been acknowledged for decades by the FTA.

We appreciate the truth of what the Seattle poster had to say, above.

Anonymous said...

"may good for Seattle but Oahu is not Seattle..."

I got a laugh out of that one.

The monied / conservative interests which fought light rail out here in Seattle for decades made the same, inane, comparisons with Seattle. "We are no NY City" they would say.

Light rail opponents across the US use the same tired tactics and myths.

Doug Carlson said...

I tend to think there's nothing tired about at-grade accident stats, which are not myths. They have a way of waking people up, and the goal here in Honolulu is for the public at large to wake up to the fact that the architects' proposal is absolutely wrong for Honolulu.

Suggest you read the two posts here on the City's press conference with extensive quotes by William Millar, APTA president (1/21 and 1/22) on safety issues comparing at-grade to elevated. Wayne Yoshioka's comments (1/22) also are worth a read.