Artist depiction

Artist depiction

BY MALIA HILL – Call it Hawaii’s future “Bridge to Nowhere.”  Not that no one would ever use the proposed Honolulu Rail.

Just that the mind-bogglingly expensive project that is destined to burden the state treasury with cost overruns in the billions of dollars is almost certain to go down in history with other famous inflated, expensive Transportation projects of questionable utility.

Or do you have faith that the government never spends tons of money to small effect?  If so, perhaps you should go wander through the spending record at HawaiiSunshine.org.

We’re told that it will create jobs.  But is anyone measuring the economic drain that it will cause on our economy?  The added tax burden?

Sometimes, when I hear, “it will create jobs,” I just want to point out that we could also cut state taxes or hand out those billions to entrepreneurs starting local businesses, or any one of a thousand things that will also help create jobs.

The promise of creating jobs is not a legitimate excuse for every piece of large-scale government spending that worms its way into the budget.  Especially when so few are looking at the unseen costs.

Anyway, despite the fact that the project has cleared the environmental hurdles and the city plans to start construction within a few months, critics of the rail are not giving up hope.  They caution the state that the new Republican Congress may have second thoughts about funding the project, leaving Hawaii stuck with the entire bill.

If that happens, expect the outer islands to raise a fuss about the inevitable tax and budget issues that will follow the project.  After all, the fact that he can take the rail from Kapolei to Ala Moana is going to be of little use to a guy getting up for work in Hilo.

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