Curiously, as Don Newman’s treatise on the distortions likely to find prominence in the Letters to the Editor (misinformation campaigns) of both the ”’Honolulu Star-Bulletin”’ and ”’The Honolulu Advertiser,”’ these figures [on rail] by these unscrupulous lobbyists obviously require the complicity of their editors, or they assign those tasks to the least competent person in their respective organizations. A discussion of median individual incomes quickly devolves into the blurring of the median for a household and then a household of four, as though these differences were of no consequence and significance. Whatever set of numbers suits one’s case is what is used — with zero comprehension at the editorial desks, as long as it is disclaimed that it is adjusted by the mysterious cost of living index. [See Don Newman’s article at: “Rail Misrepresentations”]
In the past, I’ve seen articles, commentaries and letters using 200,000 passengers as the number using TheBus in Hawaii — when that is the measure of boardings and not unique users. From there, we assume most people are making roundtrips, and then in many cases, transferring — with roundtrips. So the starting figure of 200,000 can quickly and easily be reduced to 50,000, and of that, maybe half are tourists. So the bus ridership is really more like 5 percent than 25 percent of the population. Then, figuring the ridership on the Kapolei to Downtown accounting for 10 percent, we get no more than 5,000 riders.
Since most cost overruns on the $2.5 billion rail systems nationally are currently running twice to four times the original estimate, our $2.5 billion system could conservatively be expected to cost $5.0 billion, without much imagination for how we lead the nation in that category. Since a billion is 1,000 million, our rail system will cost $1 million per passenger. Why don’t we just start trust funds for all those future riders and instead of getting caught up in the traffic congestion going to work, they can just stay home and live off the interest?
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