Mr. Cayetano previewed his announcement on the KHVH morning talk show. He discussed why he’s running (mostly because of city finances and the incumbent’s performance as mayor), but he said nothing about what kind of transit system he prefers, if any, in place of elevated rail.
As we noted yesterday, this isn’t a political blog, and we don’t take sides, but we do discuss the candidates’ views on transportation issues and specifically the Honolulu rail project, this blog’s focus.
Here are a couple excerpts from his interview; the transportation-related quotes are accurate and have been cleaned up with pauses removed. We’ll drop in commentary as appropriate:
One, it’s deceptive – because it misleads audiences into believing rail isn’t worth building if it can’t reduce (eliminate?) congestion below current levels. That’s not what rail transit does anywhere in the world where it’s built; in Honolulu as elsewhere, rail will be a travel option that will restore mobility to our community (see the project’s goals).
Two, it’s doesn’t give the audience much credit for smarts. Do Messrs. Cayetano and Slater really believe their audiences will buy their line that a single component of the transportation infrastructure will reduce traffic below today's levels in 2030, 2040, 2050 and beyond? Have they forgotten that an additional 200,000 people will be living on Oahu by 2030? Do they not think the tens of thousands of new vehicles here in 2030 will add to traffic congestion?
Three, while they’re comfortable in repeatedly floating this rather specious argument, they’re much less willing to tell the public what they prefer instead of rail. Here’s as close as Mr. Cayetano got to it in his radio interview:
As yesterday’s post and many others here at Yes2Rail (see dozens of posts under the Mr. Cliff Slater (and Friends) heading at our “aggregation” site), at-grade transit can’t approach elevated rail’s safety record. Mr. Cayetano’s off-hand remark to Pacific Business News about the San Diego trolley system may have a backlash attached to it. Too many pedestrians and others have died because that system is built at ground level.
Maybe the media managed to extract some specifics from Mr. Cayetano this morning. We can’t wait to find out.