Monday, April 9, 2012

Pattern Evident in Anti-Rail Candidate’s Efforts: Repeat Talking Points, Ignore the Inconvenient; Both Await Mililani Residents (Only) on Thursday

Mililani Town residents learned over the weekend they’ll be treated to anti-rail mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano’s version of transportation truth this Thursday evening. All other Oahu residents learned we’re not invited to the party.

Yes2Rail’s Easter Sunday post examined one of the candidate’s announced talking points – “why rail will not reduce traffic congestion” – and provided some answers Mililani residents aren’t likely to hear.

Oahu’s population will grow by 200,000 in the 25-year span beginning 2005, so that’s the principal reason rail won’t reduce congestion. Studies and the experience of cities around the country show that building more highways, let alone rail, won’t reduce it.

Mr. Cayetano undoubtedly will spin the future-congestion talking point Thursday night without providing the context that’s required for an honest discourse. In that respect, he’s following Cliff Slater’s pattern of insinuating rail will fail because of congestion’s continued growth – a canard that reveals more about the candidate and his campaign that he may care to admit.

Inflating the Cost
Mr. Cayetano also intends to discuss “why the $5.17 billion rail project will cost $7 billion or more.” The answer to that one seems to be simply that Governor Linda Lingle’s state-financed study of the rail project’s finances says it will.

Anti-rail Lingle’s $300,000 IMG study was a dubious effort from the start, since it was written in part by noted rail opponent Tom Rubin. Here’s how the City’s Department of Transportation Services rebutted the study:

“A review of IMG’s methods show that important and more relevant data was not recognized or considered and the report’s authors used incorrect figures and assumptions that allowed them to reach unsupported conclusions.”
Mr. Cayetano evidently is relying on the IMG report and Mr. Slater’s personal opinions for his forecast of a $7 billion rail project. The DTS’s rebuttal continued:

“…the (Federal Transit Administration) has already reviewed the City’s Financial Plan and found the project to be financially sound and allowed it to move forward. The FTA also continually reviews the project’s Financial Plan and will do so again as the project enters its next phase of Final Design.”
That phase began early this year with the FTA’s authorization to proceed that was followed in February by the FTA’s issuance of a Letter of No Prejudice that cleared the way for construction to begin.

The candidate will inflate the cost of the rail project Thursday evening, so discerning Mililani residents will want to know precisely why he makes the prediction. Then again, since the event shapes up more like a political event than a forum for truth, maybe room will be lacking for discerning residents.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

IMG's model incorporates operating costs of about 30 years into their project calculations which is not an apples to apples analysis. And to make their numbers even more skewed, the operational costs they factored in includes The Bus and The Handivap op costs. How that is considered a rail project cost is absurd.

OR....if the op cost of bus and van are considered part of rail as one intermodal public transit system, then they can't go around whining that X dollars only buys 21 stations and 20 miles but it must include all 4000+ bus stops, 500+ buses, and whatever Handivan has as well.