Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Good Economic News Piles Up as Prelude to Governor’s Rail Plan Financial Assessment

Q: How could the State’s $300,000 study on Honolulu rail’s financial plan resemble a bad Broadway musical?
A: It could “open” and “close” with barely a ripple.

That scenario seems likely the more we read about the improved health of Hawaii’s economy. October visitor arrivals were 13.6 percent higher over a year earlier and continued the visitor industry’s trend in 2010.

Sure, “hotel owners fret over lower rates,” but they always have something to complain about, even with spending up 24.7 percent over last October.

So what does this mean for the Governor’s financial review? The Maryland-based authors undoubtedly have filled their report with charts and perspectives only economists can love that will justify whatever conclusion they've draw about Oahu’s ability to pay for Honolulu’s rail system. Knowing who hired them, that conclusion will likely be pessimistic.

But it will arrive this week after months of positive page-one economic news that most Oahu residents can appreciate with no effort. Its reception could read like a review of a bad Broadway play: “Good pre-opening hype, but production simply doesn't deliver.”

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