Here’s a taste – the report’s seven predictions:
• Liquid fuels and energy in general will be more expensive. (No serious study has concluded otherwise.)
• Less fuel will be available to use. (Demand will outstrip supply.)
• We will have begun to stay closer to home. (For many Oahu residents, home will be near a rail station thanks to transit-oriented development.)
• Supply chains will have begun to contract. (This is especially worrisome for Hawaii, the world’s most geographically isolated society.)
• Food (as a percentage of income) will be increasingly expensive. (Producing and transporting food over long distances uses great amounts of more expensive fuel.)
• We may begin to see occasional interruptions in some services – electricity, water, sewer, internet, etc. (With no national grid as a backup, our electric utilities require an uninterrupted supply of fuel.)
• Rationing of fuel and perhaps even food is possible by the end of the decade. (If it happened in 1974 during the OPEC oil embargo, it could happen again.)
If those predictions have become fact by 2020, Honolulu’s decision early in the century to build a rail system will be seen as prescient. Lowering our dependence on liquid fuels for personal mobility is a smart option, especially here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Civil Beat’s lead story focuses on a major criticism by rail opponents, including mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano, that beginning construction on Honolulu rail before the Federal Transit Administration issues a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) is “reckless.”
To examine whether that’s true, Civil Beat asked the FTA for examples of other projects around the country that began construction before the FFGA was signed, sealed and delivered. There are many examples, including projects in New York City, San Francisco, Portland, Houston, St. Paul-Minneapolis, Denver and elsewhere.
It’s a good read for rail supporters but not so much for opponents Walter Heen, Randall Roth, Cliff "ABC" (Always-By-Car) Slater and Mr. Cayetano. Civil Beat no doubt will receive another we-tolerate-no-criticism response from the Gang of Four.