Our January prediction about the paper’s three regular columnists still stands: They won’t write a single paragraph of positive content about the project in 2012. Flailing away at rail as they do and describing it as if it were the worse thing ever proposed by the city reflects a knee-jerk reaction to big government projects that leaves no room for study and understanding of what rail will accomplish.
But Civil Beat’s Michael Levine (the online news site's rail reporter) focused on something else in Mr. Borreca’s column – the comparison of the rail project to America’s experience in Afghanistan.
It's doubtful the columnists would recognize those outcomes as rail’s four primary goals.
We do take issue with Mr. Levine’s characterization of rail as “too costly.” It’s certainly expensive – the costliest ever in Hawaii – but a project this ambitious with such important outcomes for future generations can’t be done on the cheap. Simply adding more bus routes as some propose as an alternative to rail would be doing it on the cheap – and ineffectively, too.
Mr. Borreca ended his column: “It remains to be seen whether rail leaves Kapolei before the U.S. is out of Kabul.”
The three columnists’ anti-rail convictions don’t remain to be seen. They’re visible each time they turn to this subject – a classic case of near-sightedness that relishes and can’t see beyond the controversy in front of them today.