Honolulu Rail: A Textbook Case Of Poor Planning, Denial And Diversion

Panos Prevedouros, PHD
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BY PANOS PREVEDOUROS PHD – This is an important article of national and local significance. Honolulu’s only daily, the Star Advertiser, would not publish it. They have not published anything I have submitted since 2009. Please show them that information cannot be suppressed. Forward and share it widely.

I added this postscript: Now as a responsible pro-rail politician, go ahead and deny all these as not applicable to Honolulu. But then:
  • The project is about three years late.
  • It has incurred tens of millions of dollars in penalties.
  • There was a costly (over $150 Million mistake at the airport alignment) for which no one was punished or paid for it.
  • The project violated state law and was stopped.
  • Ansaldo is the most unreliable of all major rail manufacturers. But this was Honolulu’s choice.
  • Ansaldo’s parent, Finmecannica is in financial trouble and for years it’s been trying to jettison Ansaldo. It will.
  • HART is a clueless board. Imagine the same people as the board of Boeing or Hawaiian Air. Worse than useless.
  • City erected a bunch of columns in the middle of (agricultural) land for which it has no ownership, deed or guarantee.
  • The project budget is sored up with TheBus capital funds and city Sewer Fund guarantees. This will play out just fine…
  • Do you recall the purchase of hundreds of tons of steel rails which are now properly rusting at Barbers Point Harbor?
  • (I just recalled all these in 10 minutes. There is more. All these occurred with YOUR approval and consent.)


  • As of mid-March 2013 the project is less than 3% constructed!
  • Federal court appeal has been filled.
  •  Several eminent domain suits or class action suit are likely.





  1. Unfortunately, the rail project is the BIGGEST White Elephant ever sold to the public (except for 9-11, Watergate, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the Vietnam War) in recent times. To even believe that tourist would come to Hawaii to ride a train is not the brightest idea. This project is the biggest waste of money ever, trying to fulfill false promises (by former politicians) made to the unions regarding jobs, and they fell for it! The leadership in Hawaii supporting this project should be ashamed of themselves, and they probably would be if they were not getting wealthy off their decisions.

    Antiquated technology, antiquated equipment, antiquated thinking, coupled with poor planning will make Hawaii Politicians look like the dumbest people in the world, and at this point it is not difficult to see why!

  2. Thanks Panos, for your brilliance and forsight, you know why the Star Advertiser will not print out any of your comments, cause it is the same reason they refuse to print out mine, they have been bought and paid for.

    Thank God for the Hawaii Reported, and Malia Zimmerman……..

  3. I’ll agree to the mismanagement part and it’s fallout. However, a rail system is needed. @guest “To even believe that tourist would come to Hawaii to ride a train is not the brightest idea.” Well, tourist travel to San Francisco, New York City, Washington DC, Boston, Montreal, London, etc. and they have no problem riding the rails. It gets them to their destination without the traffic and parking problems.

    Steel rails will develop a patina, but they don’t rust unless they were made improperly. Again, look at all of the cities around the US and the world that use steel rails. You will not see any rust (even with the extras that are stored outdoors for maintenance purposes).

      • The steel used in rails is a different formula than steel used in construction (like the stadium). Rail steel has a higher amount of nickel. Once again, I repeat, look at the cities all over the US and the world that use steel rails, they don’t have any rust.

  4. I love my home state…but how my brother and I just shake our heads at how lousy projects seem to LOVE Hawaii. The UH baseball stadium, Aloha Stadium, the H3 (?) freeway that didn't connect right, Hawaii civil engineering and public works is DEFINITELY not coming off as the brightest lamps on the street. It's almost funny…if it weren't so sad.

  5. I guess I expected more than unsupported opinion and hyperbole if this was published on a reputable website. While I recognize that ANY press is good press when campaigning for office, there are too many things thrown out here that don't pass the "smell test." We'll all have to wait–the proof's in the pudding, and this is the only piece of Honolulu's long-overdue transportation overhaul to make it this far. However, with enough yellow journalism, it can likely go the way of the Superferry.

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