He’s doing it again at his website in the December 13th post that’s headlined New report says the transit selection process biased in favor of rail. This two-paragraph item is classic Cliff Slater, and we’ll explain why after responding to a friend’s suggestion. If you want to skip this part, jump down to the “New Report” subhead.
Our friend slogged through yesterday’s Yes2Rail post and then emailed the following:
• ”ABC” – Always By Car – Slater supports car-based options to deal with Oahu’s increasing congestion with options such as HOT (high occupancy toll) lanes, and he consistently opposes mass transit. The car is king in Mr. Slater’s world.
• He flat-out misrepresents the city’s goals in building Honolulu rail. Mr. Slater’s campaign implies rail is intended to reduce congestion to less than current levels, which is impossible with a growing population (200,000 more Oahu residents in 2030 than in 2005). Mr. Slater knows rail's true purpose, but he misleads his audiences on this point anyway. Yesterday’s post and several others cover this (see our "aggregation site").
• Mr. Slater says the public believes rail's purpose is to relieve congestion (rather than its true goals) and cites a 2008 Honolulu Advertiser public opinion survey as his source of what the public thinks. As noted in yesterday's post, the poll’s question was badly worded to suggest a different goal – traffic reduction. Garbage in, garbage out, and Mr. Slater’s use of this GIGO question's response is described by two other letters.
The report is titled “Recapturing Global Leadership in Bus Rapid Transit, a Survey of Select U.S. Cities.” However, the headline Mr. Slater posted (second paragraph, above) could easily be interpreted to suggest that Honolulu’s process was biased in favor of rail. That’s not what's in the report. Honolulu is mentioned twice in 75 pages, both times are in passing and without emphasis.
The Institute obviously is pushing BRT, so it’s logical it favors that option over rail throughout the report. Mr. Slater’s headline may in fact reflect the report’s conclusion about rail vs. BRT, but written as it is, the headline seems like a deliberate suggestion of impropriety in Honolulu’s selection process that’s simply not supported by the report.
BRT is one of those options, and it's ironic that despite Mr. Slater's fight against BRT a decade ago, he uses this report to diminish rail. But here's where the irony ramps up: Mr. Blumenauer spoke highly about Honolulu’s future rail project when he visited here in 2004, as reported by the Honolulu Advertiser:
We have to believe even Representative Blumenauer would think Honolulu's choice of elevated rail was excellent and appropriate for our city.
This post has been added to our "aggregation site" (linked above) under the heading Mr. Cliff Slater (and Friends).