West Oahu residents need rail system now
I lived in Makaha for 13 years and feel sorry for the residents of the Waianae Coast who have to get up extra early to drive or catch the bus to get to work. As the years progressed the commute got longer and has degenerated to a point where commuters are spending more and more time in traffic away from home and their families.
We need to get a rail system that will serve the residents of West Oahu as soon as possible and help improve the quality of life for the residents of an ever-growing community.
I remember feeling totally frustrated at the previous political failure to get a rail system implemented and could not understand how this could have happened. I am confident the mayor and the members of the City Council have the best interest of all our residents at heart and will do the right thing by insuring that we do not witness another political debacle. We need a rail system now!
All kinds of people with rail transit use it
I have lived in New York City and Washington, D.C., and I want to stress that rail transit works! People like you and me take the subway everywhere, every day.
Parents take their kids in strollers and drop them at child care before going to work. Teenagers go to school, practice and the mall without their parents having to drive them there. College students take the train to classes and to happy hour.
Workers save time, money and frustration not being stuck in traffic or having to pay for gas and parking. Retirees and elders, who no longer drive, go shopping and visit their friends using the train. Tourists visit all the museums and monuments with relative ease.
These are our friends and family going about their daily business using the train. Build it and we will ride.
Rail will be an unused, costly boondoggle
I am adamantly against rail.
Having lived in Boston and New York, I am no stranger to mass transit. Why do people in these cities use public transit? Because driving is less convenient and more expensive. No mass transit solution will work in Honolulu without major disincentives to force people from their cars, either through cost (increased gas tax, loss of parking subsidies, tolls, increased auto registration fees) and/or convenience (creation of more Hotel Street-type bus-only streets, hours or zones).
Furthermore, the construction cost, maintenance expense and failure of the proposed fixed rail is exorbitant considering the limited number of people who will have access to the service.
Everyone knows that state holidays result in free-flowing rush-hour traffic. Why are we not considering changing class hours at the University of Hawaii to 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; shifting city and state workers to staggered hours; fast-tracking the UH-West Oahu campus construction; mandating the move of more government offices to Kapolei? Why? Could it be because we lack the political will to confront the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly?
And the price of our cowardice is $5 billion up front, plus $120 million a year to pay for a rail system that not enough people will use.
Let's do the sensible thing -- dramatic expansion and improvement of bus service coupled with the painful steps necessary to spread out traffic and discourage driving. The "no-build solution" can work if thoughtfully executed.
Donna L. Ching
Cost and questions keep mounting on rail
The mayor is still pushing rail transit. The original estimate was $3 billion (this was a few months ago), now the mayor says if you want the whole "enchilada" it will be $6 billion. Wow, the price of corn has sure gone up. I figure the price when completed probably will be $9 billion (Can we all say H-3?).
I have a few questions:
1. How many thousands of people will be uprooted or relocated for this project?
2. How much is a ride on the train going to cost?
3. How much money will the people have to come up with to subsidize this rail system? (I have read that taxpayers subsidize the bus for $150 million annually). I guess the additional .5 percent excise tax should cover it. But for how long?
4. How many economy- expanding $20,000 jobs will this great project provide when completed?
I would sure like these questions answered before starting.
Gloomy headlines await building of rail
I am not a psychic but here are my predictions for future headlines concerning Oahu's mass transit system:
» "Costs for building rail system now approaching $7 billion"
» "Local businesses along rail route suffering deeply"
» "Recent survey shows ridership of rail less than 3,000 per day"
» "Outdoor Circle regrets not taking stand against rail transit"
» "Nine former government officials indicted in rail kickback scheme"
» "Governor Mufi Hannemann blames downturn of economy for rail demise"
Oahu can't afford rail transit system
I disagree with Mayor Mufi Hannemann's statement that Bill 83 is "ludicrous" and "a sham." The same can be said of the collection of the transit tax starting in January 2007. It's ludicrous and a sham to collect a transit tax when the government has yet to decide on the particulars of the transit program itself, such as the kind of transit to implement!
Furthermore, it is ludicrous and a sham for the government, including the mayor, to advocate a fixed guideway system that has the potential to bankrupt our city because the tax revenues and federal funding will not cover the projected construction costs of $3 billion to $6 billion.
I was shocked to hear that there is a gap between the total funding and the estimated construction costs. Just ask Councilman Charles Djou. Where is the money coming from to make up this gap in funding? Tell me straight, Mayor Hannemann, because I think you're only concerned about the federal money we stand to lose if the Council decides against your wishes!
Miles A.P. Kahaloa