Mayor Carlisle Misleads Rotary Club Members on Honolulu Rail Proposal

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Mayor Peter Carlisle

BY CLIFF SLATER – Hear Mayor Carlisle mislead Honolulu Rotary Club members:

We published the following on this page on November 15: “On October 11 this year, the so-called Gang of Four, Governor Ben Cayetano, Judge Walter Heen, Professor Randy Roth, and businessman Cliff Slater, presented their views of the current rail project to Hawaii’s largest Rotary Club. The presentation together with questions took 32 minutes. As a quick critique of the rail project and the status of our lawsuit, this is very useful. It is titled, “How the City Misled the Public on Transit Issues.”


In rebuttal to this presentation, Mayor Carlisle spoke a week later to the Honolulu Rotary Club. Here is the video of the mayor’s appearance courtesy of Robyn Ocepek of Celebrations photography. It was quite amusing to see that while he is talking, over his shoulder is the first of Rotary’s 4-way test, “Is it the truth?”

Here is where he is misleading:

  • He says, “Rail will ease future traffic congestion — without rail congestion will be far worse.” He cannot bring himself to say the magic words, “Traffic congestion in the future with rail will be worse than it is today but not as bad as it would be if we did nothing.” Of course, no one is suggesting that we do nothing. Worst of all, he quotes Cliff Slater on the slide totally out of context so that it appears he is agreeing with the Mayor.
  • He talks about reducing energy use by 33,000 gallons per day with rail. We have clearly shown that there is highly unlikely to be any energy savings. See our tab to the left, “No energy savings.”
  • He discusses how much higher operating costs are for buses, saying the difference is that no drivers are needed for the rail vehicles. He ignores the vast amount of staff needed to keep rail going, especially security staff, which is not needed for buses. Most of all he ignores capital costs; 600 buses at an average of $500,000 per bus = $300 million, which depreciated over a 14-year average life @ 5 percent interest = $32 million annually (even that amount ignores that 80 percent of new bus costs are presently borne by the feds). On the other hand, local rail cost (net of fed money) would be $3.8 billion (only if no cost overruns). Interest alone @5 percent would be $190 million annually. Add to that refurbishing and replacement costs over 50 years that would equal the original cost of the project. Think Aloha Stadium.

Most of the time he just rambles especially when he gets to talk about Transit Oriented Development. Listen and see the Mayor on video by the link above and judge for yourself.