Honolulu Rail More Boondoggly Than Ever | The Antiplanner
More boondoggly goodness below the fold.
Honolulu: 350,000 people
Light Rail: $10.8 billion (up for the original $5.1 billion)
The transit agency denies cost overruns!
It has become so expensive the transit agency proposes to not build the last 5 miles of the project, the five miles entering the city and traveling downtown! So, $10.8 billion to move people from a pineapple plantation 20 miles outside of the city, to a suburb five miles from the city center! I can only imagine how many pineapple plantation workers live in that suburb.
Since about 80% of Hawaii's electricity is generated by oil there is no benefit to electrified rail. In fact Denver found it would increase pollution since the rail operates with so few people so much of the time but burns a huge amount of energy motivating the trains massive tonnage.
But it will reduce congestion!
Just kidding, it won't! It increases congestion, but the transit agency decided to do some mitigation which would lower congestion, mitigation which was completely independent of the light rail project, and which could have been done regardless for very little cost.
When did the entire world become one huge Monty Python skit?
It's become all flapdoodle, all the time. Every public agency seems to have taken it as its primary goal to bankrupt its citizenry, as quickly as possible.
Did I miss a memo?
If we do a bit of simple math, $10.8 billion divided by 350,000 people equals $30,857 per person. It seems one could simply have provided private cars and an endless supply of gasoline to the people without cars. Or better yet, supplied an endless number of Uber share rides for anyone who needed one. And I do mean infinite here.
Instead HonoLulus (what else would one call people who would vote for this level of idiotic boondoggle), will get a light rail which can transport them from a distant suburb to a pineapple plantation 20 miles outside of the city. All for the low, low price of $10.8 billion. Oh, and in 30-35 years they will need to gin up another $10.8 billion to recapitalize the thing and keep it running. Further, if pretty much every other light rail system in the country is representative, the operating expenses will cause Honolulu to cannibalize its bus system.
Hey, Honolulu, if I were you, I'd hire those transit agency people, and the politicians who voted for this to nice long contracts, every other municipality in the country will want to hire them away once they hear of this epic boondoggle! But you got 'em first!