The latter believe rail will be a failure because it won’t reduce congestion from current levels. Given the facts of life and human reproductive patterns that dictate population growth, they create an impossibly high standard for rail to meet. Rail transit can’t possibly meet it, so they insist the project shouldn’t be built.
Professor Panos Prevedouros and Cliff Slater, Oahu’s two leading anti-rail activists, have promoted this perspective for years. Mr. Slater even told Civil Beat in an interview that he bases his anti-rail presentations on this shaky foundation.
The rail project has never asserted rail will “solve” Oahu’s traffic problem. What it will do is provide an alternative way to travel through the urban core that’s completely unaffected by traffic. So many residents will choose to ride the system that congestion on the urban core’s thoroughfares is expected to be reduced 18 percent by 2030.
When asked why they support or oppose the project, 70 percent mentioned traffic congestion and the need to do something about it. About 15 percent said rail will be a more reliable and faster way to commute, and another 13 percent said rail will benefit the island by taking cars off the road and lessening our dependence on foreign oil.
In other words, citizens understand rail’s potential to address the traffic issue. The anti-railers’ extreme partisanship won’t allow them to acknowledge that in the slightest unless they’re under duress.
“We don’t disagree at all that rail will have an effect on reducing traffic congestion from what it might be if we did nothing at all….,” Mr. Slater told the City Council last July.
According to the QMark poll, Oahu citizens don’t disagree either.