Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fact Check Finds Truth in Rail Supporters’ Claim That Honolulu’s Traffic Problem Is Horrendous

We’ll go out on a limb here and predict that when Civil Beat has finished fact checking the newspaper commentaries of both rail opponents and supporters, the latter will be shown to be the truth-tellers.

The supporting evidence is sparse, but Civil Beat – an independent investigative online news site – has found that the only statement by rail supporters it has checked so far is  MOSTLY TRUE .

CB already has judged two anti-rail statements in their August 21st commentary as  FALSE , and it will be hard for the detractors to recover from those harsh indictments, with perhaps others to come. The city simply cannot be as loose with the truth as this quartet of rail opponents, whose leader has a record of misleading his audiences about rail’s positive impact on traffic congestion and other issues.

Traffic Truth
The supporters’ had written in their August 28th op-ed that a “Travel Time Tax study ranks Honolulu as the second-most congested city in the United States. Only Los Angeles fared worse.”

That in fact was a true statement, so we have to quibble with Civil Beat’s assessment that it merited only a “mostly true” grade and a slightly lighter shade of green than flat-out TRUE.

Civil Beat explains its grade today, and it boils down to the existence of a second study that ranks Honolulu 37th in the nation in the total amount of congestion on Honolulu’s roads. Larger metropolitan areas rank higher than Honolulu in this matrix simply because their volume is greater.

INRIX, the company that does the rankings, said Honolulu’s #2 ranking in the Travel Time Tax study is the better assessment because it describes traffic’s impact on the individual commuter. An INRIX spokesman said the Travel Time Tax “…is a reflection of what (drivers) feel every day when they’re out on the roads.”

As we see it, a second study that evaluates traffic congestion differently does not negate the truth of what supporters wrote in their commentary. INRIX did in fact find that Honolulu commuters rank behind only Los Angeles drivers in the additional amount of time they must spend on the road here due to localized congestion.

Oahu commuters know that bitter truth too well. By offering a congestion-free commuting option that completely avoids traffic, Honolulu rail will help remove its sting.

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