The vote didn’t sit well with the morning radio talker, who (unconsciously?) minimized the defeat by repeatedly calling it a 5-to-2 vote – minimizing the impact of a 77-percent Council majority beat-down to 55 percent.
The Star-Advertiser’s story (subscription) reported on Council members’ rationale for their unusual defeat of a measure on its First Reading. Transportation Committee Chair Breene Harimoto: “We can no longer afford to be divisive, we can no longer afford to just prolong the agony of revisiting over and over and over past decisions.”
Civil Beat blogged yesterday from the Council meeting a concern of Council member Ikaika Anderson “that such a charter amendment would result in the federal government demanding all of its funding returned.”
The radio host ironically said something that’s true about Honolulu rail (paraphrasing): “Rail proponents who believe rail will alleviate traffic need to know it won’t! Reducing traffic is not a component of this project.”
We agree; traffic reduction is not one of the project’s four main goals. What the radio talker never ever mentions is what the project will provide – an alternative form of transportation through the urban core that completely avoids congestion.
Anti-railer-in-chief Cliff Slater also avoids that point altogether, and in that respect, the radio host and Mr. Slater are in complete agreement.
Through representative government, Oahu residents put grade-separated rail on their attainable list and made that clear with their votes in 2008 and 2010 – when they approved steel-on-steel rail, when they created the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and when they elected pro-rail politicians and defeated anti-rail candidates.
Since Mr. Slater and the radio host yearn for traffic reduction and not traffic avoidance, they might want to propose such a project and run it up the proverbial flagpole to see if anybody salutes. Our guess is they’d find lots of agreement about wanting to reduce congestion, which has become intolerable for hundreds of thousands of drivers who contend with it daily.
But saluting isn’t enough. Getting a project built that actually accomplishes their goal is the tough part – and as we noted last month, congestion simply doesn’t go away when new highways are built or existing ones are widened. Building more highway lanes results in more congestion, and that’s just the way it is, as metro areas across the country have experienced.
They don’t have a clue, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stop trying to kill rail. The host today ended his commentary on yesterday’s City Council vote with his call to arms – an appeal to residents to put rail on next year’s ballot:
You may have seen the President on network news yesterday making the case for his infrastructure spending proposals as he stood in front of the Key Bridge in Washington, DC, one of thousands of structures across the country that require upgrading.
Although Honolulu rail is a mobility project, job creation certainly is an important part of the whole effort. From the White House report:
This wasn’t the Giants' year, but last year was. We noted a year ago today that San Francisco’s BART system set a new all-time record for passenger numbers as San Francisco Giants fans flooded the system on their way to and from the team’s World Series victory parade. It was St. Louis’s turn this year. Nearly 87,000 passengers rode the city’s MetroLink system on Friday, including the happy Cardinals fans below who enjoyed Game 7 of the 2011 World Series. Another 79,905 rode on Sunday for the Cardinals parade and the Rams game, prompting MetroLink folks to gush: “That means on Friday, MetrtoLink carried more people than those who live in Chesterfield, Hazelwood, and Bridgeton combined. Wow!” We don’t know those fields from the woods, but we’re envious of MetroLink and its passengers who already are enjoying the joys of congestion-free travel in their urban community.