Thread: Rail Transit
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Old November 4th, 2006, 04:39 AM
Composite 2992 Composite 2992 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 754
Default Re: Rail Transit

At a projected cost of $6 billion, rail is not cheap. But let's compare real costs.l=

We pay about 45 cents per mile to operate a car, according to Edmunds. At 10,000 miles per year, that's $4,500 a year per car, plus the cost of the car. In five years that comes to about $50,000, depending on how much is paid for the car. There are 987,598 vehicles registered in Hawaii. Which means in the past five years we spent $49.37 billion (more or less) owning and operating our cars, trucks and motorcycles.

According to state and county tax data, in 2005 we used approximately 39 million gallons of gas a month at a cost of about $2.90 a gallon. Or 468 million gallons of gas. That's $1.35 billion a year just for gas. Of course this is included in the operation costs, but it gives you an idea of how much gas we're burning in our little island state.

All this doesn't take into account the costs of inevitable accidents along with the property damage and injuries they cause, the insurance overhead, and the projected loss of productivity due to people being temporarily incapacitated.

Rail costs a fraction of what we spend on cars and trucks. It is a lot more efficient with fuel. It's not zero emissions as it still gets electricity from a powerplant. But that powerplant is heavily filtered and the emissions are cleaner than the average car. If carbon dioxide emissions are important factors in choosing how we move around this town, then rail transit is an important part of that total plan. We won't eliminate cars. And buses will still play a key role in the total system.

Rail and bus transportation isn't for everyone. But a lot of people will come to depend on it. I'm willing to place bets that it'll be well-used and money well-spent. There's no way additional lanes or multiple decks of highways will solve our traffic problems. There's only so many cars that you can cram into central Honolulu. And as anyone can attest, the cost of parking in downtown always goes up. At $4 a day where I worked, I toyed with the idea of riding a motorscooter to work to get free parking. But then I started working at home and that changed everything. Shorter commute. Free parking. Flexible lunch break :-)

Not everyone can or will give up their cars. But there's a lot who can and will. And there's a lot of people who can't drive and can't afford taxis but still need to get into and out of town.

Sure, the system can't service everyone. But it will service a huge chunk of the population on Oahu. Just stand on any of the overpasses overlooking H1 near Aiea every morning and afternoon and you'll see how many people could use an alternative means of transportation. And as bad as it is now, it will get worse. In all the years I've lived on this side of the island, it always has. And it's always worse than any other district on Oahu because that's where most of the available land is for development.

Rail isn't THE answer, but it's a better option than trying to squeeze another highway into a city that can't even afford the few feet needed to stripe a bike lane on existing roads.

Last edited by Composite 2992; November 4th, 2006 at 04:44 AM.
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