Honolulu Rail News Round Up – March 5, 2012

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More Hamayasu nonsense — “Rail would cost less than TheBus”:

Here’s what the Star Advertiser reported on comments by Toru Hamayasu (acting executive director of HART) about the Porter study:


“Toru Hamayasu, acting executive director of HART, said the Porter report actually underscores the importance of rail because it confirms that running the rail system will require less taxpayer subsidy than TheBus or TheHandi-Van.” “Fare collections are expected to cover 40 percent of the cost of operating the rail system in 2030, while fare collections for TheBus are expected to cover only 27 percent of the cost of bus operations that year.”

“By introducing the rail into it, we are actually reducing” the level of subsidy that is required, Hamayasu said.

“What we are trying to do with this project is to manage or control the future growth (in subsidies) by introducing a more efficient system,” Hamayasu said.”

What nonsense. Lack of transparency also includes using language that only serves to confuse the readers. Here’s the reality: In 2006 the City compared the financial outcomes of the No-Build Alternative (essentially keep on doing what we’re doing) with the Rail Project. For 2030, operating costs less fare revenues for the No-Build Alternative were projected to be $279 million and for the Rail Project $460 million — nearly twice as much.

Honolulu ‘Civil Beat’ poll — Opposition to  rail grows:

Civil Beat announced today that a new poll shows growing opposition to the rail project. The poll of likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percent, showed that, “Fifty-five percent of likely voters say they oppose the project, with just 34 percent in favor, the poll found. The rest either don’t have an opinion or aren’t sure what they think.”

Opposition is across all ethnic groups, sexes, age groups, income levels, political parties and residential locations. The primary reasons for opposition are, in order of importance for those polled, “cost,” “will not solve Honolulu’s traffic congestion problems,” followed to a lesser extent by, “not enough use,” and “beauty.”

Civil Beat also said, “Sixty-nine percent of likely voters said they were concerned about the rail line’s impact on Oahu’s natural beauty, versus just 26 percent who weren’t concerned. Seventy-three percent said they were concerned not enough people would use the line if it is built, with just 21 percent not concerned. Fifty-six percent said they were concerned that the project will disturb Native Hawaiian burials, with 37 percent saying they weren’t concerned.”

The absurdity of the rail project is finally becoming evident to the voters just as it did 20 years ago when the closer the project got to reality, the faster the opposition grew, until it reached the crescendo that resulted in the City Council voting it down.

The Mayor’s “transparency” shredded again:

Yesterday, thanks to the Cato Institute’s Randal O’Toole, we learned that Honolulu’s TheBus is one of the most energy efficient in the nation.

As we do routinely, we double checked the numbers in the federal government’s National Transit Database for the annual passenger miles traveled by Honolulu’s bus users, and the total gallons of diesel fuel used for the year. We used the standard conversion of 138,700 Btus per gallon of diesel. The calculation is simply gallons x Btu’s per gallon ÷ annual bus passenger miles. It comes out to 2,020 Btus per passenger mile for TheBus, which is half the national average for transit buses.

As another check we quickly found two other bus lines of around our size, using diesel only, and performed the same calculation. These two, Cleveland and Broward County, Florida, both came in close to the national average of transit bus energy use. y use. y use.>

We had (unforgivably) been using the national average in our discussion under the tab “No energy savings” on the website. We have now rewritten it.

Now why do you think that the City has not trumpeted this fact from the roof tops. You don’t have think to hard; they don’t want you to notice that you will be exchanging TbeBus, using 2,020 Btu per passenger mile, for a rail line that will use, at the very least, twice as much energy per passenger mile.

That’s another little item that the Mayor omitted to tell you.

The incomparable Cartoonist John Pritchett does it again:

Here’s another great cartoon courtesy of Hawaii Reporter. Of course,  it’s not the only option because the other pro-rail candidate might win. We need Governor Cayetano to win. And/or we need to win the lawsuit. And/or we need Congress to not fund the Project and/or, even if they do, we need the FTA not to approve the Full Funding Grant Agreement. We are no way out of options.