The Rail Is A Fail

Oahu, Hawaii is ranked number one for the worst traffic in the nation.This horrible traffic is due to having limited road space, a high population, and the amount vehicles almost equalling the amount of people on the island. That means for every one person there is one vehicle.When having almost as much vehicles as the state’s population, this creates problems due to the roads not being able to sustain that many cars. This problem had led to our government to finding the best possible solution, which is to build a rail transit.
In 2008, the rail transit system was able to get enough votes to start this project to what they originally thought to be a solution. Originally this rail project was estimated to be completed in the year of 2019, but estimates now propose that due to budget failures and lack of resources the rail will not be complete until the year 2024. Before we dive into the cost, budgets, and the way it affects the residents of Hawaii, we can already begin to tell that this project has begin to take a turn for the worst.

An article posted by the NY Times gives us some insight on this project.
This article is really informative about giving background information. It talks about how the process of this rail project started and how it has proceeded today. We learned information here about the how the budget has risen and UH students predict it will continue to raise due to the hardest part of the project not being started. a quote from the article: “The project was initially projected to cost $4.6 billion, but that number now is $6.7 billion, forcing the city in January to approve a five-year extension of a general excise tax surcharge to help cover the overrun.” This gives us little bit of a closer look on just how high this budget continue to rise. Another section talks about how the rail is already 8 miles completed and that with the assisted money they have gotten, honolulu would likely have to refund up to 1.5 million dollars if they abandoned this project now. The article also contains a lot of quotes from people who are living and interacting with this process daily. Could you image just waking up everyday to a huge cement pol being outside your window because land and housing on the island are already so limited that they had nowhere else to build the rail? This is the struggle that many families are facing throughout this project. Another hot issue about the rail project is housing. This article does a great job with providing quotes from officials and citizens about the housing crisis on oahu as well as with the development and path of the rail. “And on an island with an acute shortage of housing, the corridor provides a passageway to encourage construction.”

Since the Honolulu rail project would give Oahu an alternative source for transportation the reality still lies with how many people would actually use it? Although this rail is in hind sight a great idea. I have came across an article that gives us some alternative ideas into making transpiration life on paradise island a little more appealing to all of us. An article publish by the civil beat provides us with a perspective coming from the people and what they think would be best for their city, their families, and the economic standards. This idea would be to install a “street level light rail”. This is a great alternative suggestion and still provides mass transportation for the public. This form of public transformation has worked well for other cities like Seattle, new york, and California. This article is a great opinion piece allowing us to read about the peoples wants and needs rather then just from a government/ elected officials view/stand point. This then leads us to wondering with already limited road space, is a street level rail whats best for this ever growing city? The solution to this would be to perhaps have the light rail run through out honolulu inside of the majority of the island. By doing this it would create lower parking rates, more crosswalk space, and faster transportation for the workers who work in Waikiki or the skyscrapers in the big city.

Since most officials and some of the population still believe that the light rail would benefit them and the traffic, Honolulu has hired Andrew Robbins to complete the task. US News gives us an opportunity to read about this new director, Andrew Robbins, and learned that he has plenty of experience in this field and is more then likely to get the job done on track and hopefully within budget. Robbins is being offered a high salary, transportation, and housing for be coming the new project director. Before Director Andrew Robbins accepted the job, studies were showing that because of the lack of funds, the average Oahu resident would end up paying 10,500$ a piece in elevated taxes. “That’s based on the current official estimate of about $10 billion, though some experts have said the project could cost more than $13 billion, which would cost the average Oahu resident about $13,700.” “Even if the U.S. Federal Transit Administration kicks in the $1.5 billion it promised to help defray Honolulu’s costs — which at the moment is not a sure thing — the average Oahu resident would still be on the hook for $8,917.”
These numbers and billing costs would make the Honolulu Rail project the most expensive in the world. Are we really prepared as a small island society to pay for all this? Do we really think its in the people best interest when more then half of the state is already living in poverty conditions with living assistance from the state?


One Comment to “The Rail Is A Fail”

  1. As a resident of Hawaiʻi, the issue of the rail is relevant to my life. The traffic is TERRIBLE here, especially in Oahu, but I have been against the rail since itʻs proposal. I knew it was an expensive project, but I was not aware of how expensive it was until I read your article. The amount of money the rail costs is crazy! Iʻm honestly not sure how we can afford it. I like the suggestion of the “street level light rail” because it is a more reasonable option for the island. Your piece gives a great look into the issues the construction of the rail is causing.

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