Thursday, October 11, 2012


Portland puts in transit extension for about what Honolulu wastes in delay costs

“Portland Streetcar Loop Project will extend tracks from the Pearl District, across the Broadway Bridge, connecting via Weidler Street to Lloyd Center at NE 7th Avenue, south on MLK Blvd. to OMSI and return north on Grand Avenue to Broadway and the Pearl District. The Loop Project will provide 28 new streetcar stop locations. … The cost estimate for the Loop Project is $148.27 million dollars…”

Rail delay

Today’s headline indicates that rail delay costs so far will be more than $114 million. For almost the same cost ($148.27 million), Portland Oregon is completing a 28-stop extension to its flexible and well-liked transit system (see below).


The Star-Advertiser story, while correct, could be more accurate. For example, it reports:

Daniel Grabauskas, executive director of HART, notified the City Council by letter on Tuesday that the Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that stopped all construction on the project in August will likely cost the city an estimated $64 million to $95 million in delay expenses in the months ahead.

[Star-Advertiser p.1, Rail delay costs to exceed $114M, 10/11/12]

Of course, the Supreme Court ruling is not costing the city $114M. The truth is that the city’s failure to complete archeological surveys is now costing taxpayers big money. The court also invalidated a permit issued by the city.

Regardless of the official spin, the newspaper could report the story differently. On the continuation page a more complete history is noted, if you bother to turn the page on a story most people are by now already familiar with.

Meanwhile, another transit system goes forward

Let’s see… Honolulu rail at $5.3 billion for 20 miles is $265 million per mile. Portland is putting in a short 3.35 mile extension to its flexible and cost-effective transit system for $148.27 million, …  or $44.3 million per mile. That’s 1/6 what our non-extensible loop_map_201102_loresrail system would cost per mile, if built. And construction is proceeding quickly. In Portland, I mean. Plus,  Of course, there is federal funding: $75 million of the $148.27 million comes from the feds.

And the cars will be made locally in Portland! Jobs! Maintenance! The ability to make changes easily!

Honolulu’s planned rail system won’t go to the airport and is unlikely to ever be extended to Waikiki or to UH Manoa.

Portland’s flexible system can go most anywhere.

(click map for larger)


Well, yes, the Feds are paying a huge share of the Portland transit cost but that is understandable. The head of the Appropriations Committee is from Oregon, right? With decades of seniority.

Let's remember Larry SHPD, gave the city the OK to start construction. Ben Cayetano is using to old lawyer trick by saying the City should have known. If Ben starts to dig five tunnels on Kapiolani Blvd should he have known that finding iwi would stop the project? If his project is stopped because of the iwi should he have known not to propose tunneling in the first place? The Supreme Court found the city took the proper steps in building the project and that the EIS was properly done. The Supreme Court found SHPD was at fault, not the city.

Ths SHPD simply agreed (erroneously) with the city. Both the SHPD and the city should have known.

On tunnels, it depends on how deep they are dug and how. I don't disagree with you, though, but also consider that Kapiolani Blvd. is inland. I'm not sure it was a traditional burial area. There are plenty of buildings alongside Kapiolani Blvd., there should be records of any archeological finds. I haven't looked. I don't know if Ben's people have looked.

We lost a battle not the war against Honolulu Rail

I sent this to Speaker Boehner

Hawaii Governor Ben Cayetano came out of retirement to run for mayor of Honolulu. Ben promised to stop the rail project and use a FAST Flexible, Affordable, Smart Transportation Bus Rapid Transit System just right for Honolulu. More than 133,000 of us voted for Ben Cayetano but unfortunately he will not be our next mayor.

The Hawaii Supreme Court halted the rail project until the archeological survey is completed. The city started the project without completing the search for native Hawaiian burials.

The federal court will decide on December 12 what needs to be done to rectify the three violations found in Honolulu Traffic vs. FTA et al filed by Honolulu Transportation Expert Cliff Slater, Ben Cayetano and others.

Congress will decide whether to fund the project.

Speaker Boehner: Please do what you can to stop the $1.55 billion federal funding for the Honolulu Rail Project.



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