CHECK THE LIST: WE CANNOT AFFORD RAIL
A $4 billion checklist:
• The rail system will not be completed for 10 years. Because of construction, traffic problems will be worse, not better, for 10 years.
• During those same 10 years, Kapolei will become an independent "second city." The next generation of Leeward residents will not need to commute to Honolulu to work, shop, play and do business.
• $4 billion that O'ahu must pay is a huge and inconceivable amount of money that we and our descendants must pay.
• The rail system will require expensive and increasing maintenance forever. These costs have not been addressed.
• We cannot afford essential infrastructure now. We need immediate attention for our sewers, wastewater, landfills, roads and clean energy. We need to repair our schools and restore basic government, educational and social services.
• The world is changing. Our national debt is soaring and our credit rating is falling. The economies of Hawai'i and the United States will decline. We will be poorer, not richer.
Dear reader, how many checks did you make?
Tom Maeda | Honolulu
ALL THE SIGNS SAY THE TIME IS RIGHT FOR RAIL
After reading about the mayor's update on the rail project, I'm more convinced than ever that the time is right to move forward with an elevated rail system as currently proposed.
The federal government says Honolulu is in line to receive substantial financial support. The Honolulu Business Roundtable says the financial plan is sound. The record shows that an elevated train would be much safer than at-grade transit. Polling of the community has reflected consistent support for the project. Thousands of our citizens would have good-paying construction jobs spread over the next several years.
Furthermore — and this is perhaps most important from a funding perspective — Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, has expressed his whole-hearted support.
So under what pretense could the governor refuse to accept the project's final Environmental Impact Statement?
Excuse me, Gov. Lingle, but it will be an outrage for you to withhold your acceptance and kill this much-needed addition to Honolulu's infrastructure.
J.M. ComCowich | Kailua
ARTIST'S AUDIENCE BLOCKED SIDEWALKS
Recently, on my dinner break from work in Waikīkī, I was walking along Kalākaua Avenue, in front of Macy's, when I encountered a large group of people watching an artist using spray paints. This group had completely blocked the sidewalk, so I had to go over the curb and into the street to make my way past.
As I was doing this, a young man, apparently hired by the artist, told me not to walk in the street.Who is he to tell me where to walk? Is he a police officer? I don't think so.
So I walked past the young man. When I was directly behind the artist, whose back was to the street, he spun around and he also told me not to walk in the street. Again, is the artist a police officer? I don't think so.
My point is this: this artist is creating an unsafe situation where people must enter the street to get around his onlookers. Apparently he realizes this, as he has employees trying to keep people out of the street.
In my opinion, if your business is large enough to have employees, maybe you should think about getting off the sidewalk and paying rent like the rest of us.
don hulen | Honolulu
TAX INCREASE WOULD WORSEN ECONOMY
I am deeply concerned that legislators are contemplating tax increases to balance the state budget when Hawai'i is in a severe recession. Economics 101 says this will lead to a death spiral.
More taxes mean less money for people to spend on goods and services, and consumer spending drives 70 percent of our economy. Less spending by individuals leads to more businesses closing and more lost tax revenues.
Let's avoid this deadly downward spiral toward a Depression economy and reduce government spending instead.
robert matsuwaka | Honolulu