Think it through: Wherever Honolulu rail’s first segment is built, a maintenance and storage facility (MSF) must be built nearby. It makes sense because it’s common sense; you have to park and maintain train cars each night, and the facility therefore must be connected to wherever the first segment is built.
This means that starting in town and building outward toward Kapolei would require finding room in town for the 44-acre MSF. Imagine 44 football fields laid out in one big clump, each 300 feet long and 160 feet wide. Scrunch them all together, and that’s about how much space the MSF will fill.
Since just about everything between Ala Moana Center and Middle Street – the first segment that would be built if the candidate were planning rail's construction – existing buildings, businesses, homes and infrastructure would have to be cleared away to make room for the MSF. The cost in both dollars and social impact would be unacceptably extreme.
As Mr. Cayetano himself said, there’s a lot of unoccupied space (for now) on the west end between Kapolei and Waipahu – two communities that will be connected by segment one. The MSF will be located near Leeward Community College to service that segment; work on it began in October.
That’s why rail will be built west to east – sensibly so.
As for the concept that this city would begin building a multi-billion dollar rail project without having the necessary funding in place and could run out of money before it’s completed – that’s a remarkable way to look at it.
Honolulu rail is on a different track.