We’re speculating he’ll use a commentary in the Star-Advertiser tomorrow to finally tell Oahu residents how he intends to implement the Harris Administration's BRT scheme, which was run out of town for turning car lanes into bus-only lanes, for not doing enough to shorten travel times and for other troubles.
It’s about time, we’d say. Mr. Cayetano announced his candidacy 86 days ago in mid-January. If we were in his shoes and vowing to kill Honolulu rail without having something new and viable that would meet the need, we might stall, too.
Yes2Rail’s Thursday post quoted several conclusions from rail’s Final Environmental Impact Statement on the Transit System Management option that may be close to what Mr. Cayetano has in mind. Whatever that is, we’ll all want to read carefully whether it has been tweaked enough to avoid the same conclusions about TSM found in the FEIS.
One reason TSM was dismissed during the Alternatives Analysis – the crucial one – is that “road congestion also would not have been alleviated.” That’s the issue on Oahu, isn’t it? Congestion worsens each year and will keep getting worse throughout this decade and beyond. With a couple hundred thousand more residents on Oahu in 2030 than in 2005, congestion can’t do anything else.
We linked to two studies studies last week that essentially show why more highway construction – including "express lanes” – is an ineffective response to congestion. Like Parkinson’s law, which says “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion,” traffic fills new highway lanes nearly as soon as they’re built.
The appropriate response is the one selected years ago by the City Council – to build a travel alternative that avoids that congestion completely for anyone who chooses to use it. That’s what Honolulu rail will do for its scores of thousands of daily patrons.
Even Cliff Slater, leader of a vocal anti-rail faction, had to admit two years ago at the City Council something he usually won’t say in public: “We don’t disagree at all that rail will have an effect on reducing traffic congestion from what it might be if we did nothing at all.”
You can’t select out from the survey sample the half of the population that’s most likely to use rail transit just because those citizens don’t vote. Civil Beat’s polling company surveyed only likely voters in this year’s elections.
That makes sense to learn which candidate is leading the horse race now and may win, but that decision by Civil Beat’s management or its polling company essentially swung and missed in learning what the entire population thinks about rail – precisely because it narrowed the survey. We see no reason to believe core support for rail has slipped from the strong levels found in three previous scientific surveys of the entire population.
The Star-Advertiser/Hawaii News Now poll that started all the talk about slippage went into the field one week after Mr. Cayetano launched his campaign with anti-rail quotes that were widely reported in the news media. Even Hawaii News Now subsequently reported that the timing “could have skewed results against the project.”
When a poll’s sponsor publicly doubts the accuracy of its findings, you know it had problems.
A few hundred on Mr. Cayetano's BRT plan will fill this space tomorrow if our prediction is accurate. After 86 days, it’s like waiting for the other shoe to drop.