Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Of course, we never agreed to 19% of city tax revenues going toward rail
“The concern is, when in the process did we decide to radically shift city priorities and double the amount of the annual budget devoted to public transportation? When was the community discussion about this?”
by Larry Geller
David Shapiro is asking a rhetorical question, “When was the community discussion about this?” Of course, there was none.
It’s too bad that David remains locked behind a paywall. As usual, he cuts to the chase. Referring to a study by Porter & Associates Inc., he wrote this morning:
The consultant projected total operating costs of the city's transit system — TheBus, Handi-Van and rail — will consume 19.1 percent of city tax collections in 2021, up from a historic level of 10 percent.
The concern is, when in the process did we decide to radically shift city priorities and double the amount of the annual budget devoted to public transportation? When was the community discussion about this?
It's astounding we've gotten this far — issuing major contracts, spending hundreds of millions of dollars, starting construction — without a frank public examination of operational impacts.
[Star-Advertiser p. A2, Rail's operating cost must be on table, not under it, 10/10/2012]
David reminded us that the budget was so tight this year that Mayor Carlisle’s administration instituted cuts to bus service. The cuts have proven immensely unpopular. I would like to add for myself that I suspect the cuts in bus service were one reason that Carlisle came in last in the mayoral primary.
So it really is a good question that should have been both asked and answered while the project was in the planning stage.
This rail line is so expensive that it is unlikely to ever be extended. Unlike the flexible, economical and well-regarded transit system Portand Oregan enjoys, Honolulu would be stuck paying for Mufi’s single rail line in perpetuity.
The answer to David’s question, of course, is “of course, we never agreed to 19% of city tax revenues going toward rail.”
Do we look as dumb as our leaders?
While this is admittedly conflating separate issues - what does it say when the City thinks the priorities are to jack the transit share of its budget so high while at the same time saying it cannot afford to keep rest rooms open in the heart of one of the world's most famous visitor destinations; the economic engine of our entire economy?
Larry your statement is inaccurate. (The answer to David’s question, of course, is “of course, we never agreed to 19% of city tax revenues going toward rail.”) Of the 19 % 18% of that will fund the O&M of rail, 15% for the Handivan and 67% for the bus. Of course the funding for the bus is for the entire island. But the 2006 alternative transit analysis stated that BRT will have an O & M about 10% or more than rail. The latest numbers show the rail/bus/handivan will take up about 19% of city revenues and the BRT/bus/handivan will take up about 22% of city revenues.
I would suggest that the tax is way to high for my vehicle, but instead the city/state should seriously consider curtailing the number of vehicles an individual/family can own and the number of new cars that a dealership can provide each year.
This from the StarAdvertiser................Porter & Associates' forecast is that transportation services will need 19.1 percent of revenues from city general and highway funds in 2021, up from 11.1 percent in 2011. That's a peak figure: The share of revenues then will stabilize at an average of 17.5 percent through 2030. Taking the first point, the Porter study concludes that between 2011 and 2030, TheBus accounts for 67 percent of the operating cost, TheHandi-Van 15 percent and the rail 18 percent. So switching to a system that expands the driver-operated bus network, as former Gov. Ben Cayetano has proposed, is no real solution: It would still have a high operating cost while transporting far fewer people.
But at least we get a useful transit system. With the rail, it will never expanded.
And I wonder how long it will remain driverless. Perhaps until the first sexual assault or armed robbery on an unattended car to or from town happens.
Larry, you are confused by the fear mongering from Ben Cayetano. Each train will have an attendant on board, this was by design. Ben was scaring people with unattended stations. The station will of course have electronic monitoring as well a roving security.