Funding The Right Rail System

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - November 15, 2006
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Why didn’t I like the rail transit tax 1992, and why do I like the rail transit tax now? What changed - the times or just me as flip-flop-per?

I don’t know, and I think I’m exactly like so many of you that way. I think we need a rail system for the future, but I’m scared to death of the build-and-operate cost.

I tend to want to see Cliff Slater squished like a nettlesome bug. He was a minor blogger until the Advertiser made him its kill-rail columnist. He’s a one-issue fellow. Why the paper gave him the color of a columnist beats me.

That aside, what if Slater is right that the ridership figures are unconvincing? What if we can’t afford the $120 million annual operating cost? What if the cheaper Kapolei-Ala Moana Center line won’t take many cars off the streets?

And you know the build-out cost will escalate. When has it not? I’m going to guess $4.5 billion with land acquisition and rolling stock. Save this and see if I’m right.

Yes, I support rail transit and the money burden, but ...

I want so much more than we’ll get. I want Mililani. I want the UH. I want Airport-Waikiki. I want Hawaii Kai.

Monorail flyovers would minimize stops.

Yep, it would require an extension of the extra excise tax and probably additional vehicle-weight-taxes and higher taxi/private-bus taxes until we pay everything off.

Plus an entry-into-the-urban-core tax-sticker for vehicles that’s read electronically - like the cigarette tax, an incentive to quit.

And did you notice that I said monorail?

three star

I’ve joined the legion of customers double-billed for home phone service. Lucky my bank keeps website photostats of my checks.

But why is the PUC allowing this travesty to continue, probably luring some elderly people into ponying up twice?

I’d have slammed the door on the buggers long ago.


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What if King George didn’t think the Iraq advice from Cheney and Rumsfeld (now Gates) is sufficient for us?

What if King George said “Let the American people hear what the Joint Chiefs of Staff thinks about Iraq - totally public, no White House filter. Do the chiefs recommend more troops, a shorter stay, or a pullout?”

We’ve got smart, professional military people at the top, skilled in diplomacy and economics as well as how to run an army.

Let us hear from them. Give them political cover. No recrimination, as Rumsfeld did with former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki for publicly suggesting we’d need more troops to achieve Iraq pacification.

Athens and its democracy fell in 404 BC because the people had tired of sending sons to die in bad wars. They revolted.


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Election night Honolulu. Key U.S. senators fall in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Rhode Island. Dems take governor of Ohio (Bush country), and what’s on local TV stations?

KHON has Oprah. KITV has Judge Judy. KGMB has Jeopardy and KHNL has Dr. Keith Ablow.

At the moment the Dems win the U.S. House, our stations are doing meaningless interviews with local candidates without a single local vote counted.

From 6:30 to 7 p.m. in the U.S. Senate crunch, KHON has Wheel of Fortune, KHNL has Entertainment Tonight and KITV and KGMB are still doing meaningless local candidate interviews.

Then, KHON goes to Standoff, KITV to Dancing with the Stars, KHNL to Friday Night Lights, and KGMB has news cameraman Terry Hunter as a political reporter at Iwase headquarters!

That’s local TV news.

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