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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, July 13, 2008

Letters to the Editor

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

A light-rail line in Charlotte, N.C. opened last year. Boosted by high gas prices, ridership on the 9.6-mile line is averaging more than 13,000 weekday trips and has been deemed a success.

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RISING FUEL PRICES NECESSITATE RAIL SYSTEM

For nine months in college, I lived in a small city in southern France that had a simple but efficient light-rail system.

It was not noisy and was convenient and reliable. I could get everywhere I needed to go without the hassle and expense of owning a car. Children got to school on the rail, seniors used it to get to their activities; it was a real blessing and I don't understand why there is such vitriol against something that could be such a positive force in the community.

Why would anyone oppose efficient public transportation in this era of ever-rising gas prices and dependence on foreign oil? The time is rapidly approaching when almost nobody is going to be able to afford a personal daily commute to work.

Unless I'm missing some vital argument, is rail going to be any noisier or more toxic than H-1? Stop Rail Now seems irrationally frightened of the inevitable changes a post-carbon economy is going to entail.

I'm afraid the true benefit of the rail system over the next several years will reveal itself not to be a relief to traffic congestion, but a life raft for those of us who can no longer afford to drive.

My only complaint about the proposed rail transit on O'ahu is that as of yet I have heard no plans for the Windward side.

Alexandra Armstrong
Kailua

MORE INFORMATION NEEDED ON REAL IMPACT

I appreciate Gov. Linda Lingle's remarks that both sides of the rail issue should stop the non-constructive rhetoric and should get some facts out.

Something I would like to see information on is the footprint and size of the stops proposed for the train. I would like to see something more than dots on a map or an artist's rendering. I want people to realize what those 20, I repeat, 20 stops really represent.

Surely they will have to have elevators to accommodate our handicapped citizens. Will they have escalators or stairs? How many people will it take to run each stop? Will they all have parking for park and ride? How long will environmental assessments take, as surely one will have to be made for each stop?

Most of us do not understand decibels of noise. Exactly how loud will it be? I would like hear a tape played on the evening news or radio.

We need more honest information on the true impact this will have on our environment and so many lives in its vicinity.

Shirley Hasenyager
Kailua

RAIL MUST BE PART OF AN INTEGRATED SYSTEM

Mayor Mufi Hannemann is correct in saying that the citizens of Honolulu must be given multiple transportation alternatives.

On our family vacation in Japan, we made extensive use of Japan's excellent transportation system. In two weeks, we rode the following: airplane, train (bullet, express, and standard), subway, tour bus, city bus, street car, cable car, ferry (hydrofoil and standard), taxicab and private car. In addition, my daughter rides a bike to work daily.

Japan has a well-planned, extensive transportation system that has built over the years.

Hawai'i does not have the population or the financial means to do anything quite like Japan. However, we should take the best parts of their system to create our own.

It is true that the rail won't solve all of our transportation problems, but it has to be a part of an integrated system. This is something that should have been done years ago, and I give Mayor Mufi Hannemann credit for moving us along the right track.

The vog that has been plaguing the Islands is perhaps giving us a sample of what we have in store if we continue to insist on more highways and gas-guzzling vehicles.

Herb Ho
'Aiea

HONOLULU CANNOT LET OPPORTUNITY SLIP AWAY

Gov. Linda Lingle seems to be having trouble with her memory these days. Or is it really that her current and new stance on rail has other motivating factors.

Since she did not veto the 2007 bill that authorized the tax hike to pay for the rail transit system, how can she now say that she "hasn't taken a position on it?"

And let's not forget, she's the one who proposed a rail system in 2003, more than a year before Mayor Mufi Hannemann was even elected. How can she now say she's not sure?

It seems that because the fanfare is not hers, as this rail project will definitely go down in Hawai'i history books as the biggest, most positive public service to the people of O'ahu, she is once again trying to pull the shades over our eyes with her "she's not sure" attitude.

If we the people of Honolulu allow this opportunity to slip us by this time, how will our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren view us as wanting to provide for a better future for them? Auwe, Gov. Lingle.

Thomas Sato
'Aiea

WEST O'AHU ALSO NEEDS COMMUTING OPTIONS

Ex-Gov. Ben Cayetano has weighed in on the rail debate by aligning himself with those who want to deny us the opportunity to build a transit system linking West O'ahu and Downtown Ho-nolulu.

While Cayetano says he opposes rail, he offers no meaningful alternative, probably because he doesn't have any appreciation of life on this side of the island.

As a lifelong resident of the Wai'anae Coast, I can say categorically that we need a mass-transit system. We now spend hours commuting in rush-hour traffic to get to our jobs downtown and then back home. We have no hospitals on our side, so our kupuna must make the long trip on the bus to get to their doctors. We have only a single freeway connecting us to town, while our brothers and sisters on the Windward side have three ways to commute Likelike, Pali, and the H-3, four if you include Kalaniana'ole.

I invite the ex-governor to spend some time in Wai'anae so he knows how real people live and work.

No one asked us if we should spend billions of dollars to build the H-3 or spend millions to improve Kalaniana'ole. And no one has offered to take the Waimanalo Gulch landfill out of our backyard.

I'm flabbergasted that these same people who have benefited from these projects would now deny West O'ahu residents this opportunity to develop a transit system that meets our long-term needs.

Our state legislators, congressional leaders, federal transit officials and our mayor are fighting for us, for our future.

They believe, as we do, that rail is the right thing to do.

Patty Teruya
Nanakuli

MOVE EMPLOYMENT TO WEST SIDE OF O'AHU

According to The Advertiser's front-page article on July 7, Portland has approximately twice the population of Hono-lulu, triple the projected rail mileage that was built for half the cost of our $3.7 billion for 20 miles. Portland subsidizes developers to build urban high-density residential communities. Maybe Portland can afford rail, but can Honolulu?

When the universities and private schools are on break, traffic from the west is very light.

That means much of the traffic is because of the students and staff attending and working at the various education systems. Build more institutes of higher learning and private schools in the Leeward district.

Why are we still trying to move the West population workers to Honolulu instead of creating employment in the West so we don't waste our money building all these roads and rail systems to transport people to Ho-nolulu central?

The unions want work, so use the half-percent tax collections to let them expand the harbor facilities, build the warehouses, hotels, shopping centers, business office buildings and condominiums in the West.

We only have a bedroom community in the West without the supporting employment opportunities thanks to poor planning by the city. Why continue pouring good money to remedy bad planning decisions?

Lawson Teshima
Pearl City

O'AHU SHOULD TRY A TEST FIRST OF HOT LANES

Here's one solution for the traffic mess on O'ahu that would be a great way to test the alternatives offered by the opposition to rail.

HOT lanes: Try tolls roads starting on the Windward side of H-3, Pali Highway, Likelike Highway and the Hawai'i Kai side of the Kalaniana'ole Highway.

A small group of us rail supporters think this is a great way to test the HOT lanes, which are really toll roads anyway.

We've experienced them on the Mainland and they should work here. The toll would be much simpler here. Just a toll booth on the Windward side of any of the aforementioned roadways and the Koko Head side of Hawai'i Kai.

So, how about it? Are the anti-rail people ready to do it for their cause?

Carolyn Martinez Golojuch
Makakilo

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