They posit something that’s completely absurd – that rail is being built to achieve absolute reductions decades from now in traffic congestion below 2011 levels in the urban corridor on the H-1 freeway, Farrington Highway, Kamehameha Highway, Nimitz Highway and presumably all surface streets.
Since a new rail system can’t possibly do that as the population grows by a couple hundred thousand by 2030, they argue rail will be worthless and a failed project and therefore should not be built. (NOTE: building additional highway lanes doesn’t reduce congestion, either, as demonstrated repeatedly in studies around the country; see our October 25th post.)
This anti-rail tactic is pretty clever when you think about it. For most people, the rail project and most other functions of local government are fringe issues that are “out there” somewhere but not top of mind day in, day out.
Cliff Slater highlights his “gotcha” argument in his anti-rail presentations but ignores entirely rail’s actual project goals, which include improving travel mobility and reliability in our community. There’s nothing in the goals about eliminating congestion in our time or even drastically reducing it to levels far below what commuters experience today.
Notice how he applies ex-Governor Lingle’s alleged goal – a “transportation issue” of traffic reduction, if that truly was what she had in mind – to Honolulu rail without actually saying what the true goals are.
The host delivers this standard anti-rail line with considerable outrage, either feigned or legitimate. If his outrage is truly legitimate, it’s a reflection of his gullibility in swallowing Mr. Slater’s bogus talking point hook, line and sinker. That can’t be good for someone so prideful about his alleged independence and original thinking,
Riding rail will be that option, and those who find rail’s convenience and economy to their liking will choose to ride and thereby completely avoid the thoroughfare congestion that robs hours from their lives each week. Millions of commuters use traffic-avoiding rail each day all over the planet. We highlighted grade-separated systems in several cities in last Saturday’s post.
So when you hear the radio host, Mr. Slater and other anti-railers blast rail because it won’t reduce traffic congestion below current levels, ask them what would. When they say an elevated reversible-lane highway and/or High Occupancy Toll roads would achieve that pie-in-the-sky outcome, tell them flat-out they’re wrong.
Be ready with facts to confront their outrage at your defiance. Facts are available in abundance, and our October 25th post contains links to useful websites.
Civil Beat (free to occasional visitors) reports that revenues in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2012 from the rail surcharge that’s funding the local share of the project’s construction cost were $46.4 million, 5.9 percent above the budgeted amount.