A story right next to it at the top of page one says former Governor Ben Cayetano, one of the anti-rail Gang of Four, is “considering” a run for mayor to kill the project. Having given the reporter several quotes for the story, Mr. Cayetano is more than “considering” a run. He's in the race.
So although it wasn’t our intent to begin blogging this soon in the New Year, here we go – with this necessary observation: Yes2Rail is not a “politics” blog; we leave commentary on what’s said by politicians inside City Hall for others to pursue. But when someone outside those walls announces his or her intent to gain the most powerful position in City government for the purpose of killing the Honolulu rail project, different rules apply.
In June, Mr. Cayetano participated in a panel discussion at the Plaza Club at which he expressed a preference for at-grade transit. Close followers of transportation issues on Oahu know by now why at-grade transit would not come close to addressing the island’s major transportation problem – highway congestion.
We won’t belabor on Day One of the year why at-grade transit is inferior to elevated rail, but what’s worth noting is that Mr.Cayetano isn’t creating quotes for close followers of transportation issues. As a mayoral candidate, he’s speaking to everybody else – the majority of residents/voters who don’t follow these issues closely and therefore may not see the gaping holes in his arguments.
Mr. Slater is the chief architect of the buses-are-better theme, including in September when he was a guest on public radio’s “Town Square” program:
In highlighting jobs, Mr. Cayetano appears intent on convincing the casual transportation follower that Honolulu rail is a “jobs project.” It’s not. Read the goals; they're the same at the start of this year as last. Jobs will be created in building rail, of course, and that will be an important benefit for our economy, but job creation is not a project goal.
Restoring transportation mobility is a goal. Improving travel reliability through the urban core is a goal. Providing a development rationale for Oahu throughout the 21st century is a goal. Assuring travel equity for people of all ages and financial means is a goal. Creating jobs isn’t.
If Mr.Cayetano is focused on job creation, there are many ways he could make a contribution to the community, but killing Honolulu rail – which will truly create thousands upon thousands of jobs – would be his worst possible option.
This post has been added to our "aggregation" site under two headings -- Project Goals and Mr. Cliff Slater (and Friends).