Thursday, March 31, 2011

‘Isolation Factor’ Requires a Seat for Each Okole

Hawaii’s isolation has some advantages. Distance seemingly makes tourists’ hearts beat faster, and millions annually visit the most remote inhabited place on the planet at least in part because of the exotica remoteness implies.

But the islands’ isolation has its disadvantages. It costs more to live here than just about everywhere in the United States. We import our energy and burn oil to create 78 percent of the state’s electricity; Florida is next at about 10 percent. Our economy runs almost exclusively on imported energy.

Perspectives suffer from isolation, too, and the evidence is played out in the Star-Advertiser’s letters-to-the-editor column regarding Honolulu’s future rail system.

In the 10 days since the City announced award of the “core systems” contract to Ansaldo, among the rail opponents’ objections is the Ansaldo cars' seating capacity; there won’t be a seat for every passenger.

Some will sit and some will stand, just like passengers do on rail transit cars already in service in cities all over the world. That fact is lost on the letter writers who are complaining about the cars.

“…what genius decided that there should be only 72 seats in two cars, but room for more than 300 standees?” asked one, who wrote that people won’t ride if “they’ll have to stand the entire time.” Said another, “…the cattle-car passenger experience will be so miserable that people will be willing to try it only once.” Another writer inferred from the car layout that the “only people expected to ride the cars are young, strong and wearing running shoes.”

From where we sit (and stand), those perspectives are one consequence of the islands’ isolation and our residents’ relatively low exposure to rail systems. The writers certainly are entitled to hold and express them, even if they don’t reflect the reality of millions of commuters who choose to ride rail transit each day and do so without complaint.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Protests, Lawsuits Make Honolulu Rail ‘Normal’

Another week, another lawsuit – this time financed by the die-hard anti-rail group headed up by the rail opponent who’s been at it for more than two decades.

We mention it because this blog attempts to record the significant happenings on the Honolulu rail project, not necessarily because we have an opinion on all of them.

But we will offer one regarding the latest lawsuit to be announced (the first was dismissed last week). This new challenge alleges among other things that the project failed to adequately consider transportation alternatives to a grade-separated fixed guideway, Honolulu’s preferred alternative.

The allegation seems implausible due to the City’s undoubted expectation long ago that lawsuits would be filed if the last t and i were not crossed and dotted. Consider also the project’s goals against which the so-called alternatives – such as HOT lanes – were judged.

Only the preferred alternative can satisfy those goals. HOT lanes clearly would not for reasons discussed in the Final Environmental Impact Statement and elsewhere here at Yes2Rail.

Regarding the protest filed by a losing bidder on the project (described in the same Star-Advertiser story linked above), protests can be expected when a company loses out on a billion-dollar contract. Long-timers here will recall a similar challenge lodged 20 years ago during the Fasi Administration’s attempt to build a grade-separated system.

So despite the inferences one might draw from the long stories beneath bold headlines, both on-line and in print, the Honolulu rail project is proceeding more or less normally. We probably can expect more "normalcy" ahead.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Big 3 of Gas Prices: Hawaii, Alaska & California; Barclays Capital 2020 Oil Forecast Is Still $185

We’re down to the Final Four in college basketball, but in the world of gasoline prices and their influence on the cost of driving one’s car and increasing transit ridership, only three states have reached “elite” status.

Today’s AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report says the average statewide price of regular unleaded gas for Hawaii, Alaska and California is $4.223, $4.047 and $4.034 respectively.

These states are not the Final Three. More will join the $4/gallon club soon enough if the experts are right, even though the state in the number 4 position, Washington, currently trails far behind the top three at $3.777.

The above chart shows the 12-month trend in oil costs and the national average price of regular gas. Starting last August, there’s nearly a straight-line upward trend in the cost of oil.

With the summer driving season ahead and no let-up in the Middle East/North Africa drama, some analysts anticipate much higher oil prices to continue through this year. Barclays Capital just revised its forecast to an average of $112 per barrel, compared to its previous $91.

Higher Commuting Costs

Looking ahead to 2015, the company forecasts costs of $137/barrel for West Texas Intermediate crude and $135 for Brent crude. Unchanged is its forecast for 2020 -- $185 for WTI and $184 for Brent.

By 2020, Honolulu rail will be in operation. If the per-barrel cost of oil hits the projections, regular gas likely will cost more than $5.50/gallon using some rough calculations based on historic numbers when oil reached $147/barrel in 2008 (see chart).
More rough calculations: A commuter with a 40-mile round-trip by car each day from West Oahu using a car that gets 20 miles per gallon in stop-and-go traffic will burn two gallons a day driving to and from work. That’s $11 a day, $55 a week and over $235 per month (4.3 weeks per month) at Barclays’ projected oil costs.

What the cost of a transit pass will be in 2020 is unknown; the City council will make those decisions. Adults buy one for $60 today, and even if the cost increased by 50 percent (that’s an uninformed “for-example”), the cost of taking rail/bus transit would be far far less than the cost of gasoline alone.

Add the car-related expense of parking, maintenance and insurance and the difference between commuting by car and transit will be huge.

Car commuters become transit commuters for two reasons – cost and convenience. The anti-railers’ prediction that “nobody will ride” is inconceivable based on cost alone if the price of oil reaches the levels predicted by expert analysts.

When the convenience of no-congestion commuting is added to the decision, rail’s success in providing an alternative to driving is assured.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

California Joins Hawaii with $4/Gallon Gas

Today’s average price for regular gas in California is $4.011, but compared to Hawaii’s price jump over the past couple weeks, that’s only good for a weak second place.

According to the AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the statewide average for regular gas in Hawaii today is $4.209. That’s a jump of almost 20 cents since March 15th, when we first started taking notice of the rising prices.

Hawaii’s all-time average high of $4.507/gallon of regular gas in 2008 seemed far out of reach not so long ago, but that level is looking uncomfortably too close today.

Friday, March 25, 2011

H-1 Segment Is #2 among ‘Highways from Hell’

You have to wonder how this gem escaped the notice of the local media, what with all the attention they’ve been giving to the Honolulu rail project, but it did:

The H-1 freeway’s east-bound segment between the Nimitz Highway off-ramp and the Vineyard Boulevard/Ward Avenue on-ramp qualifies as the second worst traffic bottleneck in the nation.

That’s the conclusion of traffic-tracking firm iNRIX as reported a couple weeks ago by The Daily Beast. The computer analysis considered factors such as the Travel Time Tax to find the worst traffic corridors and bottlenecks among the 50 worst metropolitan areas.

A 3.9-mile stretch of Honolulu’s Lunalilo Freeway ranks number two in the analysis, right behind the Riverside Freeway in Los Angeles and just ahead of a highway segment in San Francisco.

The ranking says the segment’s so-called Travel Time Tax is 244 percent, meaning “it will take the average driver 244 percent more time to travel this stretch during rush hour than during uninterrupted travel periods.”

That’s probably not a surprise to drivers who have to travel that stretch of the H-1, but other H-1 segments have attracted notoriety of their own over the years.

Long story short, Oahu traffic is bad and getting worse, which is one of the excellent reasons to create a traffic-free travel alternative by building Honolulu rail.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

LaHood, Rogoff Visit Honolulu Rail Project; Judge Dismisses Lawsuit that Tried To Stop Construction

From left, FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff, DOT Sec. Ray LaHood, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Sen. Daniel Inouye, Mayor Peter Carlisle, Sen. Daniel Akaka and Rep. Mazie Hirono.
New contracts, top transportations officials in town, a lawsuit-dismissed -- the rail-related news just keeps piling up on itself this week.

A Circuit Court judge today dismissed a lawsuit that sought to halt construction on Honolulu rail’s first phase at the west end of the route until an archeological survey could be completed at the east end.

The lawsuit contended state law required surveys to be completed before any construction could begin, but the ruling noted that the law does not prohibit phasing construction projects.

Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Transit Administration chief Peter Rogoff met with local and state officials today.

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle hosted this morning's meeting, which included the entire Hawaii congressional delegation, as well as Governor Neil Abercrombie.

"This project is too important at this point for the jobs that will be provided for Hawaiians, for the model transit program that this will create on the island, and I have no doubt that if we continue to communicate and work with the folks here this project will move forward and the people will be the beneficiaries of it," LaHood said.

LaHood provided additional comments at a reception in his and Rogoff’s honor last night.

“We think things are progressing fine,” was Civil Beat’s LaHood quote. “There’s probably a few more things that need to be done, some additional paperwork.” Said Carlisle:

“Senator Inouye is the absolute lynchpin. He has been trying to get them here, and he got them here. It’s exciting, it’s energizing. It shows the confidence that the federal government has in this project. This (is) a big shot in the arm. Rail is going to happen, and these guys are going to make sure it happens.”

Civil Beat has posted a video of the post-meeting news conference. Be sure to turn up your sound. Better yet, use headphones.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Honolulu Rail Awards Core Systems, Phase 2 Contracts; Project Is ‘On Time and On Budget’

Continuing the trend started with the award of Honolulu rail’s first construction contract in 2009, the project awarded two more contracts yesterday that further reduced the anticipated cost to a total of more than $300 million.
Mayor Peter Carlisle said Ansaldo Honolulu, a joint venture of Ansaldo STS and Ansaldo Breda, has won the bid for the core systems contract. Core systems includes the train vehicles and system control center; the diagram at right shows the configuration of the 80 cars that will be operated as two-car trains.
Kiewit Pacific won the bid to build Phase Two of the project’s elevated guideway between Pearl City and Aloha Stadium. This is the company’s third contract on the project; it previously was awarded contracts for construction of Phase One from East Kapolei to Pearl City and for the maintenance and storage facility.
Carlisle said the four contracts awarded so far amount to a projected savings of $315 million below the original estimate for Honolulu rail. “This contributes significantly to the confidence and stability of our financial plan,” Carlisle said. “That is news that they’re going to look at in Washington, D.C, and be very, very impressed that we are in fact on time and on budget.”

Short- and Long-Term Jobs

Ansaldo Breda will operate and maintain the rail system for five years under a separate portion of the core systems contract. The O&M contract presumably will provide jobs for local residents going forward for years.

In the short run, Carlisle said construction will provide 1,000 new jobs this year. Ron Taketa of the Hawaii Carpenters Union told reporters yesterday that 50 percent of his workforce is unemployed.

“The rail represents a real hope that there is a future in our industry, and we look forward to it softening the blow the next two or three times the economy takes a dip,” he said.

Honolulu rail’s first two phases between East Kapolei are expected to be completed by 2015, with the entire 20-mile, 21-station system fully operational by 2019.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Instability – the Antithesis of Sustainability

We continue our focus on the price of oil in these exceptionally volatile times. Oil’s cost is reflected in virtually everything in Hawaii, and that certainly will be the case when Honolulu rail is up and running years from now as an alternative to driving.

The threat of a “long, drawn-out war” in North Africa is credited with a sharp rise in oil’s price today, the first day of Spring. The International Energy Agency predicts a shutdown of Libya’s oil exports due to the bombing campaign that began over the weekend.

That could turn on a dime if hostilities end abruptly. Nobody knows how long this will last, but with a big up-side potential for oil’s price, chances are we’ll see higher prices before they retreat below $4/gallon any time soon.

Hawaii remains the only state where the average price of regular gas is above that mark. Both California and Hawaii saw a slight drop in their average prices over the weekend, but that’s already changing according to post-bombing reports.

Sustainability and Rail

High oil prices inevitably result in higher gas prices and the cost of maintaining a car. Those higher costs will become an issue for most island families in the long run, and that’s why a rail transit system becomes an essential component of community sustainability.

Honolulu rail will be a reliable transportation mode, providing fast and frequent travel through the urban core and thereby restoring mobility to residents while lessening oil’s influence on their cost of living.

That indeed will be be the beginning of a “green Spring” for Hawaii.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Millions More Transit Trips Due to Gas Prices

Another day, another increase in the price of gasoline in the 50th state, where the statewide average is higher than in any of the other 49.

According to the latest check of the AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, today’s average price was $4.073, the only statewide average price above the $4 mark. California’s average is still more than a dime lower.

The American Public Transportation Association has its finger on the pulse of consumer demand as gas prices continue their rise. APTA says if prices reach a nationwide average of $4 per gallon, an additional 670 million rider trips annually would be registered. Add another dollar to the average price and ridership would soar to an additional 1.5 billion rider trips.

In addition to leading the nation on the price of gas, Hawaii is more dependent on oil than any other state. Renewable energy is creeping into the daily conversation, not only among industry advocates but throughout the public.

Honolulu rail will be the daily choice of scores of thousands of commuters and others who want to enjoy travel convenience (no traffic congestion whatsoever) and avoid car-related costs.

That’ll be part of the daily conversation in the years and decades ahead, too.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Editorial: Raiding Rail Fund ‘Wrong-Headed’

What’s the saying…too many fingers spoil the pie? That’s what it looks like as State legislators attempt to grab a couple hundred million dollars from the Honolulu rail project’s tax fund.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser editorializes today it’s a bad idea on many levels. For starters, there’s no money to grab. Mayor Peter Carlisle notes that most of the $621 million in the rail fund already is obligated.

But more importantly, do we really want to slam the door with a cake in the oven and perhaps make it fall? Cakes or pies, messing with the rail project at this late date would be "wrong-headed" – the editorial’s word.

One of the current rail project’s first major accomplishments five years ago was putting the local funding mechanism in place. A 0.5-percent increase in the general excise tax on Oahu has been dedicated to rail since January 2007, demonstrating to Federal officials that Honolulu has its act together, unlike in 1992. Surely you remember the City Council’s 4-5 vote on the local tax increase.

So now, with a Record of Decision already received from the Federal Transit Administration, some in the Legislature want to “borrow” a couple hundred million (that’s not there) and pay it back to the City by issuing general obligation bonds, which bear interest that everyone in the state would be paying. That's another legitimate objection; neighbor islanders would be paying for Honolulu rail.

Passing the bill that's now moving in the Legislature would be the wrong message to send to Washington, where faith in the local commitment to build rail could be severely challenged if SB 1426 were to become law.

Better that all Hawaii residents urge their representatives at the capitol to drop this wrong-headed idea and quietly tip-toe out of the kitchen. Let the rail cake bake. We can almost taste it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cost + Convenience = a Switch to Transit

That’s why people switch from driving their own cars and give up the freedom of movement their cars represent. We Americans love our personal freedom of movement, but we switch when the cost and convenience of taking transit outweigh driving ourselves.

Oahu residents won’t really appreciate Honolulu rail’s convenience until the system is built and they’re able to cut their travel times appreciably, but we’re already quite aware of the costs of driving.

Hawaii is the first state in the nation to pass the $4/gallon mark for regular gas. Northern California may be higher as a region, but California as a whole lags behind Hawaii’s average today of $4.016. The California average for self-serve regular is a paltry $3.962. The sign at left shows prices posted today at a neighborhood station on Oahu. Prices on this link may have changed by the time you click on it; the trend in the short term undoubtedly is up!

Will Hawaii reach it’s all-time high if $4.507? With international markets rattled by Middle East unrest and earthquakes in Japan, the outlook is gloomy.

How will Oahu drivers react? Many will start taking TheBus as long as gas prices are above the $4 mark, but if prices retreat as they did in 2009, many will go back to driving. That’s what we do.

Fast-forward to 2019 and beyond, when Honolulu rail will be a fast, frequent, reliable, safe and highly cost-competitive way to travel through the urban core. There’s every reason to believe that high gas prices a decade from now combined with the exceptional convenience of taking the train will result in heavy ridership of our new rail system. The higher the cost of driving a car, the heavier rail use will be.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mobility – a Concept with a Future in Honolulu

Yes2Rail began 2011 by focusing on the Honolulu rail project’s four primary goals, with improved corridor mobility being the first among equals. That being the case, it makes sense to explore the mobility concept in greater detail.

Jarrett Walker writes the Human Transit blog from a perspective gained as an international consultant in public transit design and policy. His insights are always worth a read, and he’s written about the Honolulu project on occasion – favorably.

Today’s post at Human Transit is about mobility, which Honolulu has lost due to ever-increasing traffic congestion that makes it nearly impossible to predict your time of arrival when you start your travel through the urban corridor.

Walker writes extensively on mobility and other transit-related subjects. Becoming familiar with the mobility concept will help transit advocates make the case for Honolulu rail, and it might even convert some opponents.

More from the Mad Men

One of the Mad Men actors in the TV spot posted immediately below is featured in an insightful interview at the Good Environment website. Remember to think "Honolulu rail" whenever high-speed rail's attributes are mentioned.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Video for the Weekend: ‘Mad Men’ on Trains

High-speed trains, medium-speed trains, trains in general – they share characteristics that make sense for cities and their passengers. Two stars of the cable TV hit series Mad Men – Vincent Kartheiser and Rich Sommer – have made a video supporting the high-speed rail initiative across America. Click on it and think “Honolulu rail” whenever they mention trains. Their points are just as valid for our local system, and we post their video here for your weekend viewing pleasure – now that we’ve survived the tsunami!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Anti-Rail Radio Host’s Numbers Are Pure Bunk

It’s the same radio host featured in last Friday’s post – the one who tries to whip up his audience with his over-the-top anti-rail delivery. It's nearly always the same stuff, but if you listen closely, you’ll find some extraordinarily amazing bunk.

Here’s what he said today; it’s a paraphrase, but the key points are accurate:

The Honolulu rail project is costing each Oahu family $4,000 to $5,000 each year. He specifically said the rail project is costing Oahu families that much every year.

Do you know how much money you’d have to spend for the one-half-of-one-percent general excise tax to generate $5,000?
The on-air anti-railer wants you to believe something so preposterous, so wildly off the mark that it’s almost beyond comprehension – except for the fact that the campaign to discredit Honolulu’s fast, frequent, reliable and safe rail system of the future knows no bounds.

Do some back-of-the-envelope calculations here. According to online sources, the median household income for a family on Oahu in 2008 was about $70,000. (We don't have the numbers for the 2010 Census, but let's work with that figure.) Let's say $50,000 is left for expenditures after taxes and savings and that every red cent that's spent is subject to the rail GET tax.

The family's annual rail tax bill would be TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS -- 5 percent of the anti-railer's number!

Today’s radio show was more evidence that anything goes in the campaign against rail, even stuff snatched from thin air -- and the air is thin indeed five mornings a week.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Oil Replaces Weather as Top ‘Elevator Talk’ Topic

The weather isn’t much of a conversation starter in Hawaii anyway, but if it were, it couldn’t keep up with the topic on everybody’s lips these days.

The price of oil – going up, down, sideways, how far, how long, Libya, Suez Canal, hedge funds, Saudi Arabia? Enter it into the Google news site and you can lose yourself in thousands of news sources. Here’s one attention-grabber:

Hedge funds bet oil prices to rise past $150

People want answers on why oil’s price has topped $100 for the first time in three years, and sources are happy to provide them. This one says it’s the speculators and oil companies’ fault, not the Middle East’s.

The future’s all about uncertainty, but there’s probably more certainty about the price of oil going up over the long haul than anything else. That’s why we’ll predict that Honolulu transit riders will save much more decades ahead than the $11,000 annually they save now, as posted here on Sunday.

Anti-railers are absolutely convinced Oahu residents won’t ride rail, but if there’s one issue that might get through, it’s the cost of owning and driving a second car that will become just too much for tens of thousands of residents a decade or more from now.

Today’s $11K in annual savings by riding TheBus undoubtedly will be surpassed in the 2020s when Honolulu rail is fully operational. And here's something we're pretty certain about:  We’ll be riding the train along with some of the more fervent anti-railers when that day comes. We promise not to rub it in.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Honolulu Transit Riders Save > $11,000/Year!

Sometimes the “more than” symbol is the only way to make a headline fit. And what a headline!

According to calculations by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) using March 4th gas prices here, riders of Honolulu’s TheBus save an average of $932 a month and $11,181 annually.

APTA details the survey’s methodology along with its results on the top 20 money-saving cities. Honolulu ranks #7, just behind Philadelphia and ahead of Los Angeles. New York tops the chart with annual savings of $14,378.

The survey is the latest validation of the obvious: By not gassing up, maintaining, insuring and parking a car, transit-riding families can save money for other worthy uses – travel, education, health and fitness, whatever.

And when fast, frequent, reliable and safe Honolulu rail is up and running, they’ll save something even more valuable than money – time to be together.

Friday, March 4, 2011

How Ironic

It’s worth a chuckle every time it runs on a local radio station.

The car insurance company’s spot says (paraphrasing) that if you’re still in bed when the radio tells you an accident has blocked your usual route to work, you could stay there or go to the company’s website for information on alternate routes.

Too much traffic? Just stay in bed. How that for an option?

What makes the spot a recurring irony is that it’s voiced by the show’s anti-rail host, who will never acknowledge Honolulu rail’s role as a travel option to avoid congestion on Honolulu’s main east-west routes.

Freeway accidents like the one pictured at right won’t affect commuters riding on the Honolulu rail system’s elevated guideway. Rail will be the better option to staying in bed, and it won’t get you fired.

About that Gas Price

Yesterday’s post suggesting we might see $4/gallon gas by the weekend brought a reminder from a friend on Maui that his island already is there.

Sure enough, the GasBuddy website shows regular-grade gas selling for $4.13/gallon in Wailuku. Premium goes for $4.33, and that’s not the worst of it in Hawaii. Molokai and Lanai residents are paying a dollar or more per gallon more than Maui's price.

If there’s a good reason to miss work, that might be it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Companies Expect Pricier Gas; How ‘bout You?

“Fuel prices will go up over time.” That’s a quote from William Clay Ford, Jr., executive chairman of the board of directors of Ford Motor Company, on National Public Radio today.

The manufacturer is basing its entire business model on the expectation that oil prices will continue to rise. Costlier gas will be a fact of life, according to Mr. Ford and just about anybody else willing to venture a prediction.

For Ford Motor, that means electric cars will become one of its major products. If you’re among those who can afford to run out and buy one of these new models, you’ll have plenty to choose from in just a year or two.

But most Honolulu residents will continue to plunge the nozzle into their gas tanks rather than plug in. That means you’ll likely see $4-per-gallon gas soon (this weekend?) and much higher prices in the years ahead.

A Likely Scenario

As the purchase price of electric cars comes down with more models to choose from, our population will gradually shift from gasoline to electron power. By the time Honolulu rail is fully built, gas prices will have become almost prohibitive.

Those with the means to purchase electric cars will have done so, but many others still driving internal combustion vehicles will adjust their budgets to accommodate those higher costs.

Commuting by rail will be a viable option, and many families will compare their travel options and conclude rail transportation will save them literally thousands of dollars each year. The cost of a monthly transit pass ($60 today) will be far far less expensive than fueling their car for the daily commute.

By taking the train, the commuter also will avoid parking costs. Fewer miles put on the car will reduce maintenance expenses. Train travel will be so convenient and cost-effective for many families that they’ll decide to give up their second vehicle and completely eliminate its expenses.

It’s not too soon to imagine the positive money- and time-saving effects Honolulu rail will have for tens of thousands of Oahu families.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Our 1st Correction – and It’s Not Even Ours

Our take on the Sunday Star-Advertiser story was that the good people of Manoa Valley probably just can’t appreciate how bad rush hour traffic is for those who must face long commutes twice a day.

But there was a lot more going on with that story, as today’s paper prominently makes clear. The Star-Advertiser has printed a correction to Sunday’s story that’s long enough to capture your notice. It’s still tucked away in the lower-left corner of B-1, but look how they’ve handled it on-line.

The correction has been inserted into the top of the archived story in a can’t-miss-it pink box. Here it is in full:
» City officials have never said they would use general fund revenues to pay for Honolulu's rail transit project since doing so would violate a city ordinance. President Barack Obama's $250 million fiscal 2012 budget request for the project is only one of several federal appropriations the city is seeking. The article below incorrectly reported that the city would use general fund revenues, and it implied that only $250 million of the $1.55 billion total federal funds sought will be budgeted for the project. Also, City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi said the city has "already spent $120 million" in the transit fund, not $120,000 as she was misquoted as saying. And the Federal Transit Administration must approve the city's financial plan. The story gave an incorrect name for the agency.

Some element of the City or Honolulu rail project undoubtedly took strong exception to that story and triggered this lengthy correction. A few people still question why a public information effort is needed by Honolulu rail. This story is one answer.