Monday, September 26, 2011

USA Gas Prices Fall, but Not in Hawaii; Rail Sets Town Hall Meetings, Route’s Archeological Survey

Map shows location of archeological survey's phases.
“For those of you who yearn for the days of $4 gasoline, rest assured it can still be found in one state: Hawaii....” Green Car Reports chose an interesting way to put it in describing the falling price of gasoline across the country. Gas in South Carolina costs more than a buck per-gallon less than in Hawaii.

It always comes across as a cruel joke being played on us by somebody, somewhere – national gas prices falling while local prices are going up. The chart at right summarizes it in a glance; the national trend line in green is downward since June, while Hawaii’s prices are going in the opposite direction.

Rest assured, gas isn’t the only cost driven up by the price of oil. Hawaii’s electricity rates are the nation’s highest – currently 32 cents/kilowatthour on Oahu, more on the neighbor islands – and you’d probably have to search far and wide in the USA to buy milk around $5/half-gallon, which is what consumers pay here.

We lead off with the higher cost of driving because cost is one of two reasons most people choose to start riding transit and stop driving. The other is convenience. With the cost of driving on Oahu among the nation’s highest, consumers here will have plenty of incentive to adopt new commuting habits once the rail project is up and running.

Surveys Begin
The map at the top is from today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser (subscription) and its report on the archeological surveys that are beginning along the Phase 4 route of the rail project.

An archeological inventory is required and will be conducted even before construction begins to assess whether subsurface cultural artifacts and burial sites will be encountered where the pillars for the elevated guideway are planned to be erected.

The first of several community meetings on the survey will be held 6 – 8 o’clock this evening at the Farrington High School Cafeteria, 1564 North King Street, Honolulu. Information about the surveys and meeting is available at the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) website.

Town Hall Meetings
A series of informational updates on the project begins Tuesday night with a meeting in Kapolei Hale’s conference rooms, also from 6 to 8 o’clock. HART representatives will be on hand to discuss the project and answer questions from the public.

Other meetings this week and next will be in Central/Leeward Oahu, East Oahu, Windward Oahu and Urban Honolulu. HART’s website has details on their locations.

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