But a letter in yesterday’s Star-Advertiser did a better job of responding to the skeptics. The Manoa writer had several reasons why “proof of payment” systems make sense for Honolulu:
‘Proof of payment’ is not ‘honor system’ (Star-Advertiser, 12/18, subscription)
Mr. Slater continued his new-found enthusiasm for BRT into the weekend with two more referrals – a 2010 speech in Boston by FTA chief Peter Rogoff and a Detroit News story on the FTA's support of a regional bus system.
The FTA believes BRT would work well in the Detroit region, and that’s great. The agency has its reasons, which you can read, but unless I missed it, there’s nothing in the newspaper story about what’s right for Honolulu – just for Detroit.
As for Mr. Rogoff’s speech about the importance of transit system maintenance, he mentions BRT only once: “Is Bus Rapid Transit a workable option for every corridor – no. But it’s a fine fit for more communities that are seriously considered it.”
Honolulu seriously considered BRT under the Harris and Hannemann administrations, and it didn’t fly either time. What works for one city or region doesn’t mean it would work in Honolulu. Don’t we hear all the time about “how different” Honolulu is? We know it’s true, and two reasons it’s different are outside for everyone to see – the mountains and the ocean.
Calling Mr. Slater “Always By Car Cliff” is another way of saying he favors car travel over mass transit options, but he’ll endorse BRT if he thinks doing so can add to the confusion in his fight against Honolulu’s elevated “light metro” system.
Here are some of his quotes from Honolulu’s brief exposure to Mr. Harris’s proposed BRT system:
Mr. Slater himself is the source of the erroneous belief that Honolulu rail’s principal goal is to reduce or even eliminate road congestion. He’s responsible for this "straw-man" argument that he works so hard to knock down. Rail will be an option to driving in that congestion, and since rail can’t possibly lower overall congestion to below current levels, he attacks rail for failing to do the impossible.
Here’s a quote from his “Second Opinion” column on 6/3/02: “…these fixed systems just do not do what people assume – reduce traffic congestion.” They assume that because Mr. Slater works hard to convince them that’s rail’s goal; see his Civil Beat video interview and our next-day post.
Here’s Mr. Slater’s newspaper ad (7/5/11) that solicited contributions to support his federal lawsuit to stop Honolulu rail: “Traffic congestion will be worse in the future with rail than what it is today.” Yes – absolutely true, but Mr. Slater’s intent is to suggestion rail will be a failure if traffic increases. With the population growing by 200,000 in the 2005-2030 period, of course traffic congestion will increase.
Mr. Slater is nothing if not clever; having it both ways on BRT and capitalizing on his straw-man tactic show that much. As Internet searches reveal, he’s been anti-mass transit for as long as anyone can recall, and he’s not going away now.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to catch him on his contradictions and in so doing lessen the likelihood he'll add another notch to his belt by killing rail.
As noted above, this post has been added to our "aggregation site" site under the heading Mr. Cliff Slater (and Friends).