Ten Plus One Reasons Why I Do Not Support The Honolulu Rail Project

These renderings show communities along the planned rail route and how they will look with the rail in place
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These renderings show communities along the planned rail route and how they will look with the rail in place


  1. Among all travel options on Oahu, mass transit serves 6% of the travelers, just slightly above the U.S average of 5%. Focusing on this small piece of the pie is no way to solve the mobility problem of the 80% that drive and carpool, i.e., rail is the 1% solution because City’s rosy numbers show that transit share will grow from 6% now to 7% with rail.
  2. Spending over five billion dollars for a non-solution is clearly unethical and all responsible for it are breaching their professional and fiduciary duty. As an engineering professional and past candidate for mayor I want no part in this unethical endeavor.
  3. The original system was supposed to be 34 miles through Kapolei to UH and Waikiki for about $3 Billion as shown in the headline above.  The current project starts a mile out of Kapolei and dead-ends at Ala Moana shopping center with no service to Waikiki or UH. Just 20 miles for over $5 Billion. If offering the public 41% less for a 73% higher price is not a lie then what is it?
  4. In some respects Oahu’s congestion is comparable to that of the largest cities in the nation chiefly because Oahu is lane deficient.  20 miles of rail and 20 overhead stations will cause critical lane closures and result in debilitating congestion for a decade or more. For example, look at the image below and consider what traffic in downtown Honolulu will be like with Ala Moana Boulevard closed for about a year? The impact on quality of life, economy and tourism will be huge.
  5. B, C, E, 3, 9, 11, 20, 43, 53, 73, 81, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 96, 97, 98A, 101, 102, 103, 201, 202 are all the bus routes that will be eliminated or terminated to the nearest rail station. TheBus will be changed from a core operation to a feeder operation. This will add a lot of inconvenience and disappointment to the people that need transit service the most.
  6. Rail is high security risk. Mentally ill shooters and terrorists typically attack work, school and train station locations. Third rail systems like Honolulu’s are a magnet for suicides. Train stations are a hot spot for robberies and drug trafficking.
  7. Rail makes Honolulu less resilient:It is practically certain that a major storm will hit Oahu in the next 50 years. Ten miles of reversible lanes not only will reduce congestion by over 30% for one third the cost of rail, but also they will be a critical backbone for post-storm recovery. Instead rail will be incapacitated for a prolonged period and critical resources will wasted to revive it.
  8. Cannot afford itHawaii is among the five worse states in the country in pension and health benefit funding liability. Future budgets will be very tight for the state. Outer islands should worry about their loss of big subsidies they receive from Oahu (i.e., they too will pay for it.)
  9. The City already has big problems finding a few million dollars for important services. Its budgets will be crushed by the union raises, the EPA sewer consent decree and the pension liabilities. Then add the rail construction cost-overruns and bankruptcy may not be far off.
  10. Out of more than 650,000 adults on Oahu only 156,000 voted YES to rail in the 2008 elections. That yielded a marginal 50.6% approval among those who bothered to vote. During elections the ratio of pro-rail lies to anti-rail information in advertising media was more than 10 to 1. Taxpayer monies were used to support rail and, indirectly, rail-supporting politicians. Calling this a “mandate” is disingenuous and the process was indeed unethical.Last but not least, the aesthetics of the system are undesirable for the small, tropical capital of Honolulu. Here is just one before/after picture offered in city’s renderings.





  1. public transportation or mass transit is nothing but a government monopoly.very expensive,top heavy.high government union wages,high government management salaries. in a free market commuters would be able to choose from highly competitive,private transportation companies that would be efficiently and transparently run.and eliminate all government contracts.better yet, keep the government out of mass transit entirely.let the commuters and private transit companies work it out in true open,free, genuine capitalistic manner.

    • All this free capitalistic development has turned Hawaii into the night mare it is today. Your simplistic ideology accounts for the total distruction of my former home.

      • Try becoming educated in the facts. The traffic nightmare has been caused by politicians favoring visible projects over invisible ones like sewer repairs and road building. You don't even live here so how would you know?

  2. Beautifully and factually written, thank you Panos for your sanity and your expertise.
    Yes, the project is completely unethical and corrupt, we absolutely have crooks running our state and city.
    Who can stop this madness? I do NOT want to pay one single cent of my hard-earned money for a losing project.
    Nor do I want my children and future generations to be left with such a despicable blight on our paradise.

    • Crook is Mufi….the godfather who started this mess.
      Remember,Makiki district's Beretania street was mainly residential,a safe street until Mufi rezoned to commercial on his first term. He didn't care about UH students housing needs, but panderd to business and mafia interests.
      Now it's a ghetto zone, clogged traffic, & vacant bldgs.
      Another example, of rezoning Honolulu to business instead of residential…Kalihi . Approved by Mufi's former side-kick, Caldwell.
      Last is Kakaako.
      Only those paidoff from this 8 billion elephant will live in Kakaako's luxury condos, driving to "Haole" Moana shopping center, sending the kids to Punahou.

  3. "Mentally ill shooters" and suicides? Come on professor. People die on highways also. Is this a reason to close them down? If you have to resort to this kind of fear mongering, you have no case!

      • All his arguments are probably exaggerated flights of fancy. After all, they come from the same fertile imagination as the bands of "mentally ill shooters" roaming the line targeting rail passengers. Also the suicidal hordes who, if not for the rail line, would not even think doing themselves in!

        So, some existing bus lines will be replaced by the faster and more frequent rail line. What's so compelling about this supposedly anti-rail argument?

      • Like the imanginary reports of Miriam Carey's killing at the hands of police Thursday was Washington's second major spasm of deadly violence involving an apparently unstable person in 2 1/2 weeks. The woman's mother said she had been suffering from postpartum depression.

        How many years will it take for Honolulu to be like D.C.? By the time rail is done?

      • The woman in Washington was in a car. She was not on the Washington Metro! You seem to be saying that because the woman drove her car through barricades in D.C. we should drop the idea of rail in Honolulu! Sounds like the professor's illogic.

        Definitely not a compelling argument against rail.

  4. Thank you Dr. PREVEDOUROS.
    I have been a rail opponent for all the reasons you state and more.
    For the future of Hawaii, we, as a State, should be promoting telecommuting vs people commuting. Imagine spending $5 billion to have free, high speed connectivity through the entire State – the entire State being "connected". The business, economic, political and social impact/opportunities would be tremendous. Rail – anyway you look at it, is a Railroad. And Rail seems to be a 19th and 20th century technology – not a 21st nor 22nd century technology. Of course, commuting locals and tourist to and from the various scenic, amusement, shopping and dining locations are important. However, rail is certainly not the answer.
    I am also very curious of the State/City's decision on expanding residential in Kakaako area while at the same time promoting Rail to "expand". I’m no city panner but think this is somewhat strange/crazy.

    • State oversees Kakaako through HCDA: a corrupt agency for developers. HCDA's request for funding is up for renewal. My reconmendation is to contact; Sen. Brian T. Taniguchi @ 586-6460 and Rep. Isaac W. Choy @
      586-8475 for the official reasos about this somewhat strange/crazy planning.

  5. @ @hoot1234- we don't have real capitalism in Hawaii or even in the main-land. what we do have is crony-phony capitalism where the politicians and local government pick and choose which private companies will have certain priviledges and favoritism.very corrupt and corrosive to local economy.we will never have economic growth with current political system.

  6. @ Manawai- I been here a little over 19 yrs. now. mostly in Chinatown.and I say that government has no business in public transportation. the people should have to be involved and not the politicians.

  7. Well these facts have indeed some strong represents within!! I enjoyed learning those facts and looking forward to see how community of that rail project continues. Thanks.

      A new review looked at the rising cost of building the rail system, putting the project at $500 million to $600 million over-budget.
      It also criticizes Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, which oversees the project, saying its effort to contain costs has been minimal and is alarming.
      The report was put together by the Project Management Oversight Committee, which monitors large projects to make sure they’re progressing in time, within budget, and in accord with approved plans and specifications. It is then sent to the Federal Transportation Administration for review. https://khon2.com/2015/02/05/hart-responds-to-fede

  8. The 'invisible hand' of Rand is the one that steals over 450 BILLION dollars a year in the form of interest from Americans, that we pay to the private banking families that own the FED, to borrow our own money.

    I've read "Atlas Shrugs" and don't remember Rand complaining about those fiat money makers, who are nothing more than thieves.
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