Tuesday, February 1, 2011

‘We’re 100% Satisfied We’ve Followed All Laws’

That’s Mayor Peter Carlisle’s response to the latest action by the anti-rail faction in this community. Former Governor Ben Cayetano was out in front of the familiar rail opponents yesterday, fronting them in a press conference to protest the project’s progress.

And the project indeed is progressing. The FEIS was completed nearly a year ago after great scrutiny and was accepted in December by current Governor Neal Abercrombie.

All parties to the Programmatic Agreement signed the document that addresses historic preservation, and that joint agreement triggered issuance of the FTA’s Record of Decision for Honolulu rail.

Yes2Rail noted Mr. Cayetano’s opposition to rail in July 2008 but suggested then that his politics-based objections failed to outweigh the need to create an option to worsening traffic congestion.

Mayor Carlisle alluded to Mr. Cayetano’s long-standing opposition:

"He has been opposed to rail and has always been opposed to rail. Doesn't like where it starts, doesn't like how it's been thought through and he is a bus guy, start and finish. None of the statements that Gov. Cayetano made are things that we haven't heard in the past already....

“He’s advocating for his position, and I will advocate for mine….  We are absolutely 100-percent satisfied that we have followed all the laws that have been necessary to be abided with….  I’m satisfied that we are in the current situation moving forward prudently and appropriately.”

Clearly, the anti-rail groups don’t like rail’s progress, so they’re now attempting to disrupt the process, including filing lawsuits and aggregating their individual objections in a new effort backed by the former governor, orchestrated by an anti-rail activist and promoted by a local talk-show radio host who's nothing if not anti-rail.

Always About Mobility

This activist was defeated in his bid for a City Council seat in November’s election. He called the radio station this morning to announce the group’s intentions, including a press conference in two weeks that will object to the project’s route.

The call prompted the host to misstate rail’s purpose; here's a paraphrase:

They moved the discussion on rail from the original purpose, improving mobility and alleviating congestion, to an economic project. No longer was it about mobility, it became about jobs and how we can’t turn down the federal dollars. That was the City’s propagandistic effort – shifting the debate away from transportation to jobs.

That’s simply not true. The City’s message on Honolulu rail has always been and always will be about improving mobility. As a major project goal, enhancing mobility is first among equals, and we launched this blog on June 30, 2008 with a post to that effect.

We returned to those goals last month in several posts beginning with “Rail’s All-Important goal – Improving Mobility” on January 4. Rail will create jobs and City officials have said so, but the radio host’s instance that jobs is the primary reason to build rail is a flat-out misstatement of this project and more of his own propagandistic efforts.

Thanks to the activist’s call to the station, the new anti-rail campaign’s plans are now known and can be anticipated, which isn’t a bad thing. Soon after that call ended, the radio host shifted the focus of his program from rail to the subject of high vehicle registration fees.

How ironic is that!?

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