Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Let’s End this ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ Talk Right Now!

Anti-railers must be thinking, “It worked in Alaska. Maybe we can make it work here, too!”

Their latest essay – “Still Hope for Rail Critics” – is another of their flawed commentaries that Yes2Rail likes to highlight; the more exposure their thinking receives, the stronger the case for Honolulu rail. (See our July and October 2010 Yes2Rail posts for more highlighting of anti-railers' spurious arguments.)

6 pm UPDATE: Council Approves Key Permit for Rail

Take this commentary, please – and let’s take it apart piece by piece for the benefit of those who might be reading their stuff at a distance.

This isn’t a bridge to nowhere; it’s a link between urban Honolulu and the region in the southwest corner of Oahu that has been designated for decades as the location for future growth as our Second City.

The region, referred to generally as the new city of Kapolei on the Ewa Plain, is where young families can afford to rent or purchase their first home. Oahu is one of the most expensive real estate markets in the nation, so less-expensive housing developments in Kapolei are attractive and can only increase in size.

This map shows an arrow pointing to Kapolei. Note that Oahu is an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. We have one major east-west route, the H-1 freeway; it's not possible to build south of that route for the obvious reason that the space is wet. Mountains (not shown) prevent inland routing.

The H-1 already is clogged with traffic during drive time and often throughout the day, but building more highways to relieve that traffic pressure on a land-scarce island is not the answer, no matter what anti-railers say.

Government officials for decades have proposed a grade-separated rail link between Kapolei and Honolulu as a way to restore mobility. That’s one of the rail project’s goals – to restore what our population has lost, the ability to move at will through the urban corridor.

Other project goals include improving access to the planned development of the Second City, as noted above. A third is improving corridor travel reliability, which grade-separated transit does nicely by completely avoiding surface congestion. Improving transportation equity is a fourth goal, giving all segments and economic groups access to fast, frequent, reliable and safe travel regardless of age and income.

This Is Not a Jobs Project!

But the “Still Hope” commentary ignores all that and wants you to believe this is nothing more than a jobs project. “The promise of creating jobs is not a legitimate excuse for every piece of large-scale government spending that worms its way into the budget,” it says.

Of course jobs will be created, but that’s not why Honolulu rail is proceeding. Anti-railers would have you believe otherwise, just as they automatically assume “cost overruns in the billions of dollars….”

It’s part of their mantra, just like the “bridge to nowhere” chant. And just like most glib and easy-to-swallow slogans, this one is easily debunked.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The sad thing I find about anti-rail's comment is that the route leads to nowhere. However, not once do they actually look at the feeder bus routes being proposed at each station. Essentially, that is the true service footprint of the proposed system. No one has ever said rail will run all by itself, it does not compete with The Bus, it compliments The Bus.