Bad Anti-Ferry Claim, Yes To Rail

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - November 28, 2007
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Interstate 25 Denver-core toll and HOV lanes
Interstate 25 Denver-core toll and HOV lanes

Final thoughts on the end of the Superferry court case on Maui.

Anti-ferry-forces attorney Isaac Hall had clients with a bad argument for the last courtroom showdown, and his use of the term “village idiots” sure didn’t enhance his presentation.

Sierra Club money went into the effort to claim Act 2 as unconstitutional. You could argue that passing special legislation for the Superferry (i.e. “large capacity ferry vessel company”) was politically disgraceful. But you could not argue that it’s unconstitutional. Any third-year law student would - or should - have known that. Big waste of Sierra Club donors’ money.

P.S.: Two days later, attorney Hall was before a state panel arguing on behalf of a developer who wants to build 200 luxury homes at Molokai’s Laau Point.


three star

Fixed guideway transit opponents e-mailed me that I’m a victim of Mayor Hannemann’s pro-rail propaganda.

I’ve replied to them that the reality is that a fixed guideway is coming. Save your brain energy to help shape it the best way. More highways and more cars cannot be in our future.

And it’s baloney to claim, as one e-mailer did, that it is “obvious that the ties with land developers, planners and contractors are the motivating factor for rail, which any level-headed, honest citizen with average intelligence can see.”

That’s as far-fetched as saying the Superferry is all about transporting the Army’s Stryker units to the Big Island.

To the die-hard guideway opponents, I say this:

Nobody’s claiming rail - the likely technology - will get everyone or even half the people out of their cars. Cars serve our multipurpose lifestyles here. But roads cannot handle car growth infinitely. We should hope that congestion, gasoline cost, parking fees and vehicle taxes will coax a substantial number out of some of their cars when the mass-transit option is in place.

Sure, you can cut travel time and have more get-off options with HOT lanes and express buses. But HOT lanes encourage rather than discourage car use; toll roads set up a system geared to those who can afford the tolls, and to hell with those who cannot, and more buses on roadways further impede traffic flow.

There’s no question that parking your car at or taking a bus to a rail-transit terminal and off-loading and walking or busing at your destination will require adjustment. My use the past 13 years of a bike, moped and the bus to make us a one-car family does that, too.

Charlotte, N.C., Lynx light rail system
Charlotte, N.C., Lynx light rail system

Where the rail opponents and I mainly diverge is that I want to see the growth of cars cut down over the years and they don’t. My way may be tough on auto dealers and highway builders, but we really need to think about the mistake we made in America after WWII when we let car proponents force streetcars out of our urban centers.

Where would we find room for all those cars added over 30 years of more growth on Oahu if we only built more ingress roadways and no mass transit?

I’m a rail proponent because I’ve liked it where I’ve used it, and because I don’t see a workable option for Oahu. Certainly not more roads, toll or otherwise.

I’d like to see more federal help or more set-aside tax money to extend the route to Ewa Beach and Mililani, and eventually East Oahu. But I’m not going to put down the project because I can’t have it my way.

I know I don’t want HOT or toll roads, and fervently hope most of you discard those really bad ideas, too.

And picking whether to have fixed-rail transit and on what routing is properly a political decision. But the technology - please leave that to a panel of technology experts.


three star

Did I point out three times in MidWeek columns that crosswalks across six lanes on South King Street and South Beretania Street are inherently dangerous and would get pedestrians hurt and killed? Yes. Did the City install in-crosswalk or overhead control lights? No. How many hurts and kills do you suppose it will it take?

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