The Case Against a Honolulu Rail and Against More Taxes on Oahu Residents

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”Congestion:” The city forecasts that while we are already 15 percent over capacity on H-1 during the rush hour, we will be 81 percent over capacity in 2030 – with rail.

Planners have had no intention of reducing traffic congestion and never did. They have been conducting a war against the automobile, which is why traffic congestion is so bad now.


”Cost:” The city forecasts (AA, table 5-1) that to build their preferred 28-mile full alignment from Kapolei to UH, it will cost $4.6 billion. We have calculated that it will actually cost $6.4 billion – and possibly more. In addition the operating losses will be another $90 million a year.

”More Taxes:” The mayor originally forecast that it would cost $2.6 billion to build rail and said he needed a one percent hike in the General Excise tax but the Legislature only authorized a half percent. Now his forecast has nearly doubled to $4.6 billion (our is even higher). We calculate it will take a 40 percent hike in property taxes to build the full alignment.

”Environment /Blight:” Imagine this elevated rail line snaking through town. It will go along Dillingham cross over to Nimitz, along Nimitz to Halekauwila, up Ward Avenue, along Kona Street, onto Kapiolani Boulevard to University, up University and over H-1 to UH. All the while at 75-77 decibels.

”The Case for HOT lanes and a Tax-Free Alternative”

”Congestion:” We propose a two-lane reversible, elevated highway operated as a High-Occupancy/Toll facility (HOT lanes). Buses/Rapid Transit (BRT) and Vanpools would go free and have priority; all other would pay a toll variable by time of day.
The function of the variable toll is to keep the HOT lanes traffic full, but congestion free. When operated this way the throughput of vehicle traffic on one of the HOT lanes will be twice as much per hour as a nearby regular H-1 lane. It means that the two HOT lanes will carry as much as four lanes of the regular H-1 freeway.

”Cost:” The city forecasts a cost for the HOT lanes of $2.7 billion (AA, table 5-1). However, the almost identical facility in Tampa was built for $420 million. No engineer we work with has come up with a number greater than $1 billion – and some much less. We are using $900 million as our estimate.

”No more taxes:” The federal government will fund half of the cost, or $450 million. The other half will be funded by revenue bonds to be paid off by toll revenues.

”Environment /Blight:” The elevated toll lanes will run along Kam Highway then along H-1 by the airport, then along Nimitz to finish by Hilo Hattie