Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Candidate Must Tell the Public Details of His BRT Plan Today or Violate a ‘New Rule’ by Tomorrow, Plus: Reporters Get a ‘New Rule’ of Their Own

NEW RULE: Candidates who propose killing large municipal projects that have been planned and vetted for years must disclose an alternative plan’s details within 90 days of launching their campaigns.

90 days? Nearly a whole quarter of a year? Your incredulity is understandable if that seems like an inordinately long period to you, but we’ve tried to be fair by giving candidates plenty of time to comply.

This New Rule is about to be applied for the very first time. Mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano officially announced his campaign 90 days ago today on January 19, which will be 13 weeks ago tomorrow – one-fourth of a calendar year.

Here’s the campaign’s essence in three words: “I’ll kill rail.” Mr. Cayetano proposes to eliminate mobility-improving, travel time-reducing, transportation-equity ensuring, development-enhancing and job-creating Honolulu rail. That's a heady campaign promise, but as of this moment, he hasn’t provided any details of his intention to implement a bus rapid transit (BRT) system if elected.

Some regular Yes2Rail readers may be thinking, “Not this again. You write about Cayetano and his non-existent BRT plan nearly every other day!”

That’s true, and we’re beginning to think that’s not often enough. Left to his own devices, Mr. Cayetano doesn’t reveal much about his intentions. What little we know has been reported at Civil Beat: “Our plan is comprehensive, but at the core of it is a Bus Rapid Transit system.”

That’s not a new BRT system. It’s the Harris Administration’s system – vintage 2000, not a particularly good year for BRT. The Harris plan was never implemented because of widespread opposition from the public and the City Council.

Unlike high-value wine bottles that acquire a fine patina of dust over the years as they mellow with age, “Harris BRT 2000” is simply old. In the absence of any details on what Mr. Cayetano would do with that plan, there’s no reason to believe it would be more acceptable in 2012 than it was a dozen years ago.

Here’s another NEW RULE we’re implementing, a corollary to the above NEW RULE: If a candidate fails to comply with the 90-Day NEW RULE, reporters must begin demanding details of the candidate’s alternative plan to replace a municipal project within 90 days.

Because of Mr. Cayetano's apparent failure to comply with his NEW RULE, the reporters' rule's deadline to start asking about Mr. Cayetano’s BRT plan is July 18th – 13 weeks from today. That’s a whole 24 days before the Primary Election – surely enough time for the electorate to fully digest the intricacies of bus rapid transit, wouldn’t you say?

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