It’s all boogey-man talk – conjured-up images of future failures based on nothing more than their active imaginations. Their end game, of course, is to scare citizens away from rail.
Devil in the Details
The talk show host asked his favorite guest this morning if any form of rail is acceptable on Oahu. The guest wavered slightly, since he doesn’t want to alienate a faction of local architects who favor building at grade in town and elevated further west.
But in the end, when pressed by the anti-rail host, the guest firmly endorsed building an elevated toll road instead of rail. He said drivers could pay a toll for the new highway in the sky, thereby producing reduced congestion on the H-1 freeway.
That was his alternative – diverting vehicle traffic from the H-1 freeway to the toll road. Drivers who can afford to pay tolls would do so, and those who can’t afford the tolls would be left to their on devices on traffic-choked streets and highways.
And what happens if the toll road becomes congested with too many toll-paying cars? That’s simple enough; just keep raising the real-time toll until only those who can afford to pay them would access the highway.
Just Charge More
You see where this is going, don’t you? The favored guest’s alternative to rail amounts to a failure to achieve the rail project’s four goals that we highlighted earlier this month, with "restoring mobility" the primary goal.
What also jumps out especially is a toll road’s inability to provide transportation equity for all classes of people, something rail will do with ease. Only those with cars can use toll roads, and only those who can afford to pay ever-increasing tolls can enjoy clear sailing.
Another anti-railer made all this perfectly clear in October when he wrote: “Higher tolls are necessary to discourage overloading.” So fervent is he in his defense of car-centric commuting that he probably doesn't perceive the injustice in his shockingly frank statement.
To paraphrase: “More fear of failure is necessary to encourage doubt about rail.”
Be ready for much more What-If fear mongering in the weeks, months and years ahead.