City's rail rendering

BY DUANE SAYERS – In response to Panos Prevedouros’ post on January 16, 2012, “Urban Rail and Terrorism,” Mr. Prevedouros continues his campaign of fearmongering.  In this case, he cherry-picked pieces of an article in order to incite readers into thinking al Qaeda is waiting in the wings to terrorize the Honolulu rail system.

In point, Mr. Prevedouros uses a bullet from an article in the New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority magazine that says, “According to the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) Data Base of Terrorists Attacks against Public Surface Transportation, over 4,000 people were killed in 1,434 attacks between 2004 and 2010.”

However, in his scare tactics he fails to point out that the article goes on to say, “none took place on US soil,” a fact confirmed by Karen E. Philbrick, Ph.D., Deputy Executive Director and Director of Research at Mineta Transportation Institute.

There are roughly 10.4 billion unlinked transit passenger trips per year in the United States (per APTA).  Since 9/11, not one of those 104 billion passengers was injured or killed by terrorist attacks in the US.

Mr. Prevedouros goes on to say that the, “FTA does not provide funds for security.”  The TSA   however, gave out $273 million in competitive grants through its Transit Security Grant Program.

Mr. Prevedouros adds his own editorializing by saying, “Substantial funds are necessary to combat groping, pickpocketing, and other petty crime.”  Though it is difficult to find statistics that specifically address groping and pickpocketing, Mr. Prevedouros can take comfort in the fact that HART, Honolulu Police, TSA, HDOT, and other state and local agencies continue to work closely to develop plans to provide for a safe and secure rail transit system.

Duane Sayers is the Rail Operations Manager for the Honolulu Transit Authority.