Hawaii News Now Editorial Supports Kapolei to Ala Moana Rail Route

Commentary by Rick Blangiardi, General Manager of Hawaii News Now

Even though the new potential 11 billion dollar price tag is pretty intimidating. It’s time to take a practical view of the Honolulu rail project instead of the political view.

Even people who have been criticizing this project for 30-plus years should not celebrate the possibility of the rail ending at Middle Street.

That would be an unmitigated disaster for everyone, a seven-billion dollar white elephant, a perpetual drain on city taxpayers, with low ridership, less fare revenue and bigger operating deficits.

While it’s OK to use this time to consider improvements, it is not OK to settle for a system that doesn’t do the job.

That will take money.  State lawmakers must back off their resistance to extending the rail tax again and should end the 10-percent “skim” off the top of the tax collections.

The city must also be more creative about other sources of money such as special fees or taxes on rail-related commercial development.

Again, practically speaking, next year a non-election year is when these things can and should happen.  But the practical discussion should begin now.