Thursday, July 1, 2010

FEIS Insights: Rail Will Lower Energy Demand for Transit and Highway Vehicles; Less Pollution, too

Oh, the things you can learn by reading the rail project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement. If more Oahu residents would check out its contents, we’d see much less misinformation and wrong assumptions in the community’s ongoing rail dialogue.

Take the issue of overall transportation energy use and pollution. Table 4‑21 summarizes the anticipated average daily transportation demand in 2030 for the project, which will reduce daily transportation energy demand by approximately 3 percent compared to the No Build Alternative. The total transportation energy demand for transit and highway vehicles will be lower with the project than if rail were not built.

Greenhouse gas emissions are covered in Section 4.9.3 of the Final EIS. It’s anticipated that the project will reduce regional pollutant emissions by between 3.9 to 4.6 percent compared to the No Build Alternative (Table 4‑15).

The entire FEIS can be accessed at the rail project’s website. Spend some time with it – but preferably not all at once. It’s a big document that examines virtually every issue that could be raised about Honolulu rail – its impacts and its anticipated benefits.

But here’s a thumbnail sketch we like on the energy issue: Oahu with rail will use less fossil fuel and will generate less air pollution compared to not building the system and continued reliance on the car-centric status quo.

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