Before & After Rail (2)
For the anti-heavy-rail proponents the recent Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that the State Historic Preservation Division violated its own rules by allowing the project to proceed before surveys were completed seems reminiscent of the escalating problems we saw with the Super Ferry project. Remember that financial fiasco? Well let's get ready for another costly transportation controversy and a temporary halt to construction on the $5.26 billion dollar rail project, the largest public works project in Hawaii's history. Yes, even more expensive than the controversial H3 freeway project that eventually forged on in spite of delays in construction to address similar Native Hawaiian protests. Why is it that transportation projects in the state of Hawaii seem to cost us taxpayers a bundle regardless of whether they are initiated through proper protocol or never completed ? How is it that we end up paying for all of this while our city's streets and sewers need fixing?
The rail construction crews began work on segments of the rail line and a storage facility located near Leeward Community College and the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. sued the state and the city on behalf of Paulette Kaleikini, alleging the city had begun construction prior to completing its mandatory archaeological surveys of the proposed rail. The Hawaii Supreme Court ruling has temporarily halted that construction.
So for those of us who may have voted for what is described as "heavy rail", let's take the time now to look at these renderings, based on the actual specs for build outs we can anticipate. We need solutions to the massive grid lock our citizens experience coming to work in Honolulu, yes. But is this the best and only solution for the next generation? Aren't we already watching many visitors flying directly to Maui, Kauai and to other islands, circumventing Oahu and Waikiki? Is this going to enhance Honolulu's appeal or more importantly is this type of mass transit going to enhance our lifestyle? Or is it going to be the bane of every single resident who will have to live through years of congestion while it's being built? Will this kind of severe change in our island landscape really make life better for us and for folks commuting to town? Can we afford to build this heavy rail system? As voters did we make informed decisions or did we err when we ok'd this project? This is the time to stop and re-think, before we spend another few million dollars. Yes, times are difficult and local businesses will benefit, the unions want jobs for their people but is building this kind of elevated rail as proposed really the only and best option? Are there no alternatives to what we see in these renderings and what we see in other cities? What's your opinion?
Life is Good... let's think twice before we mess it up.