It's practical to review airport transit routes
The city is conducting environmental assessments of three routes for mass transit.
ENVIRONMENTAL review of three routes
, including two that take in Honolulu Airport, keeps the city's options open as it moves ahead with mass transit.
The alignment, as currently planned, will run through Salt Lake, but studying all three makes sense because the airport is part of an envisioned 38-mile system. Should problems arise with the Salt Lake corridor or should officials change their minds about bypassing the airport, an assessment already would be in place.
Along the same lines, officials should not limit flexibility in the type of transit technology to be used by excluding bus guideways from their review and considering rail-only systems. In addition, energy efficiency should be a key component in selecting a transit mode.
The city administration's announcement of the three-route study raised fears among Salt Lake advocates that the City Council's controversial decision would be set aside. Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Toru Hamayasu, the city's chief transportation planner, have affirmed Salt Lake remains the preferred route. Nonetheless, that's not set in stone and practicality demands the airport-loop and airport-exclusive routes be assessed.
Hannemann also said the airport reviews could serve the state if it decides it wants to fund a line to connect that facility to the system.
The state Legislature and Gov. Linda Lingle, who has been critical of the city's decision to build the initial route through Salt Lake, might want to think that over. Though the system is the city's project, an argument can be made that the entire state would benefit from Honolulu's transit complex.
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