Anti-railers argue that rail’s allegedly small reduction in total vehicle miles traveled on Oahu can’t justify the investment in the project. Let’s look at how they reach that conclusion.
You can make any argument you want through selective use of statistics. Books have been written on the practice; How To Lie With Statistics and Damned Lies and Statistics are two of them.
Anti-railers focus on the anticipated reduction in vehicle miles traveled throughout Oahu -- admittedly a low percentage -- while refusing to acknowledge rail’s biggest fact:
Rail’s impact on traffic through the urban corridor will be significant – approximately 18 percent less traffic with rail than without it. That will be the inevitable result of attracting more than 100,000 riders each day.
Anti-railers won’t touch this fact either: Rail transit will give its riders congestion- and traffic-free travel through the urban corridor. That’s an inarguable fact that anti-railers run from, can’t debate and never discuss.
The Mobility Factor
This point is huge. It can’t be repeated often enough. It must be raised whenever anti-railers spout statistics. It’s why the project’s final environmental impact statement lists mobility first among the project’s four goals, as we briefly discussed yesterday.
Here’s the mobility quote from the FEIS’s list of goals:
Total congestion-free travel – that’s what restoring mobility in our community will achieve. You can follow this debate closely and not once hear anti-railers acknowledge this central fact. Their “I won’t ride it, so why should I pay for it” argument doesn't help them either, since it betrays a “me first” mentality that rejects a broader vision that supports the entire community.
Congestion-free, fast, frequent, reliable and safe transportation is what rail will offer its riders. Rail’s ability to reduce vehicle miles traveled in Kahuku on the North Shore may not be much, but its positive impact in town where our congestion problem continues to grow cannot be denied.