Friday, April 22, 2011

A Strategic Thinker’s View of Honolulu Rail

How’s this for a concise description of Honolulu rail, in 50 words or less?

“It's an important strategic investment for our city and could substantially enhance the quality of life for the people of Oahu while alleviating a challenge we have in traffic as well as making an opportunity for social change by creating a new avenue for transit-oriented development.

That’s a quote from today’s Star-Advertiser profile of Don Horner, who was appointed this week to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) board.

Horner’s become a “hot media personality” in recent days due to his widespread civic involvement, with HART being his latest high-visibility post. The quote may have a clue of why Horner is in such demand – an apparent ability to grasp and articulate the essence of issues on his desk.

He’s done that in 46 words for Honolulu rail. The quote captures the project’s goals of providing a fast and reliable alternative to driving in traffic congestion for all citizens who chose to ride, especially those benefiting from transit-oriented development.

No ‘News’ in Higher Gas

Honolulu and the state have been in record territory for the average price of regular gasoline for 48 hours already, so it’s ho-hum time about today’s new record prices -- $4.422 and $4.527 respectively.

What’s truly alarming is that there’s so much upside on the per-barrel price of oil before it, too, sets a new record by surpassing $147. Today’s (fluctuating) price is around $124/barrel. Something else – or a combination of somethings – has made gasoline more expensive than ever even though oil itself is still more than $20 less costly than in 2008.

The President wants to look into those somethings, because there surely are other forces at work besides the price of oil. Whatever they are, they’re improving the public’s appetite for transit – even in west Texas!

Poor babies: The high price for regular gas in Lubbock today is $3.63. And to think they pump oil out of the ground right their in their own backyard. It's an outrage!

To grossly abuse a JFK quote: "Let them come to HONOLULU!"


Anonymous said...

Rail will improve our quality of life? How? There will be NO quality of life when the taxpayers are subjected to pay MORE tax in the future to support this money draining clunker. This will not and never improve the quality of life and instead, we'll be slave to this money guzzler. In the mean time, there will be daily heavy traffic as usual.

Doug Carlson said...

We simply share far different visions of the future, Anonymous. Yours is bleak, mine isn't. Maybe that stems from your belief that all government spending is harmful; many anti-railers seem to feel that way.

Pro-railers believe life would truly be bleak on Oahu if an alternative to traffic congestion were not built. We'll stick with our belief that Don Horner has figured this out.