Revisit and Review the Rail System Issue on O'ahu


Past Experiences

An updated report on 16 February 2011 states that Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida rejected the rail project for reasons that the risk outweighs the benefits and is far too costly for the taxpayers and too optimistic overall.  He also believes estimates of riders and revenue would leave taxpayers to pay subsidies to keep it running because it would be unable to pay for itself.  Thus, he returned 2.4 billion dollars to the Federal government.

Governor John Kasich of Ohio and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin are of like-mind and rejected the rail system.  Riders would use the fast train service and transfer to a slow bus system to get to their destination. It would have limited impact on traffic which would not be sufficient or significantly improve traffic flow.

American continental usage versus island usage is a big difference when comparing Hawaii to the contiguous 48 states of the United States of America.  What works for a vast continent generally doesn't work for a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific.  One shouldn't overlook this great disparity and contrast when making a comparison between the dynamics of the two land masses.

Who benefits from the rail system?

The investors and developers are looking for guaranteed profits and the larger, the better.  The State and County governments with elite politician snollygosters would benefit personally.  A small percent of construction workers based on their pay scale; whether local or imported  from outside the state to build the rail system.  Then you have the operation of the rail and full-time employees usually with substandard pay scale.  Finally, the ridership who pay for the limited service available.

Impact on Oahu Island, Oahu

The major concerns are costly burden for the taxpayers; an overly optimistic estimate of ridership and revenue; then there are state and county subsidies to sustain the 20 mile rail system which would be increased as time goes on.  How much of this rail system will benefit the island residents and how much will benefit the visitors and tourists? 

If it creates jobs, how many jobs are we talking about?  How many are temporary and how many are part-time and full-time and at what level of jobs skilled or unskilled are available?  How much land is involved and where?  Is there ample parking for vehicles at the various stops and what is the cost for riders to park their vehicles there?  Who gets displaced because of the land needed and what level of noise-pollution and traffic are affecting the surrounding area of the stations and stops along the way?

Expense and feasibility of the rail system

Who pays for the rail system on O'ahu and what is the total cost to get it up and running?  The Federal government pays a one-time seed money; the State of Hawaii taxpayers; the City and County of Honolulu (O'ahu Island taxpayers).   The income will depend on the ridership of residents; visitors, and tourists of the leeward area. 

The question is how many stops and where are they along the way between the two terminals.  Then we need to know the cost of using the rail system, and parking for those that choose to ride it at the various points.  How frequent do they run and the capacity of the railcars; are there enough seats or is there standing room?  What would be the hours that the rail system would be available for the riders?  I'd hate to think I would be standing from Kapolei all the way to Honolulu.  How long would it take to get from one terminal to the other?

We need to evaluate the expense and feasibility carefully to see if we really need a rail system on O'ahu and whether the purpose for it is advantageous, realistic, and convenient, as well as profitable or a burden for us.


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Aloha, Brothee:

Well written with valuable thoughts. Also, once built and the rail system has to be closed down due to financial woes, now the Island of Oahu will be forever stuck with this ugly monstrosity miles of steel that obstructs the scenic and openness of Oahu. The Cons outweighs the Pros of building the rail system. Stick with more and conveniences times and route schedules with The Bus. At least if need to cut down the bus system can just park it away when not in use.

Aloha ke Akua,

I traveled a lot on rails, and rails in the Boston Subway are dangerous places, children are hardly present in these areas.  The rails will have jurisdiction over the communities it passes through.  A design by redlining of bankers choices, in other words the only people living along side these rail paths will be the working poor and the struggling single working class.  We should see a different mind set should this rail reach it's capacity of human numbness.  


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