The leading opponent’s anti-rail campaign was essentially a misinformation effort that survived as long as it did because it went unchallenged far too long by far too many people, including the media.
Businessman Cliff Slater has fought mass transit projects on Oahu since at least the 1980s by employing the successful business advertising tactic of message repetition. Just drum it in over and over, and people start to believe it.
Yes2Rail yesterday showed irrefutably that Mr. Slater doesn’t tell the truth when he accuses the city of withholding information on future traffic congestion levels after rail is built. That’s one prime example – the flat-out wrong misrepresentation of fact.
Mr. Slater wants you to believe building more highways will reduce highway congestion. That’s his focus in all his years of activism against transit projects. He’s a highwayman at heart and has spent years trying to convince Oahu residents that building more roads is the answer to relieving the road congestion we all hate.
His HonoluluTraffic.com website, in addition to its anti-rail propaganda, also is a repository of Mr. Slater’s many commentaries that claim highways are the way of the future.
One of many examples was his October 2006 “Second Thoughts” column in the Honolulu Advertiser under the oxymoronic headline “Other cities have shown that rail does not work”. Try selling that in cities around the country that rely on rail networks to move millions of travelers each day.
That particular column concludes: “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.”
Here’s one study’s finding:
Tearing down the few highways already built on land-scarce Oahu isn’t the solution here, but it’s time Honolulu (and its news media) wake up to modern thinking.
Honolulu rail will restore mobility, improve travel times, provide transportation equity and spur economic growth through transit-oriented development without eating up more space for toll roads or other highways that likely would make congestion worse.
Those social scientists of the future presumably will use whatever replaces Google as the preferred search engine to research Honolulu rail's history and what delayed its construction so long. We can use it now to fact-check Mr. Slater and challenge his outdated thinking.
This post has been added to our "aggregation site" under the heading Mr. Cliff Slater (and Friends).