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Why not bridge the gap from Kapolei to town?

One thing always comes to mind when I hear about mass transit: What about a bridge from Kapolei to the Kakaako area? It wouldn't cause the traffic woes that building over our existing freeways would cause. I remember the construction of H-1 over the Nimitz Highway. All those scaffolds, supports and the construction jargon that was necessary, what a nightmare! And today we have even more cars on the road.

Instead of raising taxes to pay for whatever form of mass transit we end up with, let's do something that works for the other states, something I'm sure would get the majority vote here -- a lottery. Most people don't enjoy forking out cash on taxes, but you put a lottery of some sort out there and presto -- instant cash cow.

Stan Batalona

Underground rail may be better for Oahu

While I do not contest that a rail system could go a long way toward alleviating surface congestion, I question the validity of surface rail meeting this need, especially in the city center.

Without a doubt, rail can be used as a powerful tool transporting commuters from West and East Oahu and the Windward side. However, once surface rail reaches town, it can only add to the congestion. Elevated rail has been proposed, but that option severely limits placement while contributing to congestion and urban blight.

I propose a rail system that runs on the surface from Kapolei to Dillingham and then becomes subterranean through Kalihi, under Hotel Street/Fort Street Mall, City Hall, King Street to University Avenue. Spurs can run off the mainline into Waikiki, Pali Highway/ Kailua and to Kahala and Hawaii Kai as the system is expanded.

I realize that an underground system costs significantly more, but we must look to the future when Oahu truly becomes urbanized and congested. A rail system will be one less thing city planners will need to worry about burying. A visit to Hong Kong offers a glimpse into our future.

Alfred Caragay
Baltimore, Md.
Former Hawaii resident

Seattle has expanded its Monorail system

A letter to the editor from Ted Obringer (Star-Bulletin, Nov. 7) suggested we should find out why Seattle has not expanded its original Monorail before we consider funding an elevated rail system on Oahu.

In fact, Seattle voters approved a new 14-mile Monorail project last year, as well as a 1.4 percent motor vehicle excise tax to fund the system. Despite concerns of potential shortfalls in funding, the Seattle Monorail Project board of directors forecasts opening the first segment on Dec. 15, 2007. Rather than blocking progress, why not face up to the threat of future traffic gridlock and look for lessons from other rail projects while going ahead with one for Oahu? While we argue, other cities implement.

Frank Genadio

Bush is committed to reducing emissions

On the day we learned our economy had surged at its strongest pace since 1984, the Senate exercised good judgment in protecting those gains by turning back climate change legislation that would have severely restrained growth leading to a large loss of jobs. The Climate Stewardship Act was not a solution, as your Nov. 3 editorial implied, to addressing the complex issue of long-term global climate change.

The president is committed to a scientifically sound and effective global effort to reduce the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and to minimize the effects of climate variability and change on sensitive regions, such as the Pacific Islands.

President Bush's long-term strategy recognizes that only a growing economy can ensure investments in the technologies needed to reduce the projected growth in global greenhouse gas emissions. His plan will reduce U.S. greenhouse gas intensity by 18 percent during the next 10 years. His 2004 budget seeks a 15 percent increase in funding for science and technology programs and $4.2 billion in tax incentives to buy hybrid cars, and encourages the use of wind, solar and geothermal energy and energy-efficient technologies.

The president's fuel cell initiative provides $1.7 billion to develop and fuel a new generation of hydrogen-powered vehicles with no pollution or greenhouse gases. Through the FutureGen program, we will build a full-scale coal-fired power plant that is pollution-free and emits no greenhouse gases. These investments, coupled with our Climate VISION partnership to reduce manufacturing emissions, achieve both goals of reducing emissions and protecting our economy.

James L. Connaughton

White House Council on Environmental Quality

French are not enemies of the U.S.

Amid rumors that the Bush administration lied to the world in order to wage war, pundits like Thomas L. Friedman insist on calling the French the enemies of America, thus fueling xenophobic frenzy among the mobocracy ("Shared vision of future no longer binds U.S. and Europe," Star-Bulletin, Nov. 3).

The United States has spent the past 30 years vetoing any U.N. action vaguely critical of Israel, with little regard as to repercussions. For 30 years, those repercussions have meant terrorist attacks on Europeans claimed by pro-Palestinian groups too cowardly or unskilled to strike on U.S. soil. That changed on 9/11. French President Jacques Chirac was the first head of state to come to Ground Zero, while the newspaper Le Monde announced "We Are All Americans."

While we pour Chardonnay down the sewers as a pathetic gesture of contempt, one more American dies in Iraq. Had the French and our other "enemies" -- Canada, Russia, Germany, Brazil, Mexico -- had their way, that American would be looking forward to the holidays instead of ending up as a casualty of war. As we choose our friends carefully, we must mind whom we call our enemies.

J.P. Muntal




Historical markers?

Other cities have permanent markers signifying historic sites or locations. Shouldn't Hawaii be equally accommodating to students and visitors? What should such markers look like in Honolulu? Design one! Remember, markers on walls require the owner's permission, but markers in the sidewalk belong to the city.

Send your ideas, drawings and solutions by Thursday, November 13 to:

Or mail them to:
c/o Burl Burlingame
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

c/o Burl Burlingame


How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

Letter form: Online form, click here
Fax: (808) 529-4750
Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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