Mayor Frank Fasi’s proposed elevated system would have been nearly 16 miles long, with 22 stations along the route between Leeward Community College and UH Manoa, with stops at Pearlridge, Aloha Stadium, Pearl Harbor, the airport, downtown and other locations along the way.
Since the system would have offered a viable alternative to Manoa-bound students, traffic on streets and highways would have been attracting many of them since 2003 had it been built, a fact rail opponents can ponder as they complain that the current project doesn’t go to the Manoa campus.
Question #7 wants to shed some light on Mr. Slater’s assertions that mass transit projects must be resisted in Honolulu because of their alleged failures across America. Fortunately for our purposes, Mr. Slater has compiled quite a record in the digital age, so we can get to the bottom of his anti-transit reasoning with ease.
That’s not surprising since every American alive today has been on the receiving end of an automobile industry advertising juggernaut preaching the values of car and suburban home ownership, an idealized lifestyle that has only recently lost some of its luster. Most of us prefer driving our own car if we have one, but the facts of life -- literally -- make it uncomfortable much of the time to do so.
Mr. Slater publicizes what he calls the 8/80 principle as if it were some kind of proof in support of his core belief that big government transportation projects must be opposed. It’s the same way he specifically attacks Honolulu rail, as we’ve pointed out too many times to count since we first discovered his tactic in July 2010.
First Mr. Slater states what appears to be a fact, then draws a conclusion not supported by facts or logic, such as, "Traffic congestion grows in urban areas that have built rail transit systems; therefore, rail systems are failures." That's how it works.
What we learn in reviewing Mr. Slater’s many on-line commentaries is that his primary goal is reducing traffic congestion. If a project doesn’t do that, don’t build it, he says, and he attacks Honolulu rail because it won’t reduce traffic congestion enough to suit his personal tastes.
Here’s a quote from one of his “Second Opinion” columns in The Honolulu Advertiser in October 2008: “We have a traffic congestion problem and that is a highway problem. It can only be fixed with highway solutions such as High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.”
Question #3 in this series , if asked on "INSIGHTS on Hawaii PBS" Thursday night, would evoke an admission from Mr. Slater that HOT lanes don’t do anything to relieve congestion on regular streets and highways and serve only those who can afford to pay the toll – the wealthy or well-to-do.
Two months earlier in another “Second Opinion” column, Mr. Slater slammed home another unremarkable fact: “PB (the city’s prime contractor) cannot forecast traffic congestion relief from rail. That is because every single metro area in the U.S. with rail transit has seen an increase in traffic congestion in the last 20 years – every one.”
We hope the host and producer of Thursday’s INSIGHTS show see the pattern by now if they’re reading these posts. Mr. Slater’s singular goal is traffic congestion reduction – and by his own words he admits that’s simply not possible. Traffic congestion growth is the natural result of population growth. Opposing rail because it can’t stop the inevitable result of population growth would be hilarious if it weren’t so debilitating to the well-being of Oahu’s commuters.
This post has been added to our “aggregation site” under the heading Mr. Cliff Slater (and Friends).