Dan Stringer

navigating the convergence of faith, culture and the common good

(Still) Waiting to Ride Honolulu Rail Transit

March 14, 2012

The Honolulu Star Advertiser published my letter to the editor today. For those without an online or print subscription, here’s what I wrote:

There’s a great irony in Honolulu’s decades-long public debate over rail transit: Those who claim to be most concerned about the cost of the project are the ones driving up the price tag through lawsuits, political theatrics and other scare tactics that delay its completion.

Even though this project has been discussed ad nauseam, thoroughly scrutinized at every step, placed on the ballot in 2008, approved by the majority of Oahu voters and given a green light at the city, state and federal levels, it’s unfortunate that some rail opponents will stop at nothing to undo years of planning and progress.

To those who claim they will never ride the rail, I ask: How can you be certain of where exactly on Oahu you, your children or grandchildren will be living 20 or 30 years from now? How do you know your loved ones will not make use of a more reliable, efficient and sustainable public transportation option? What’s good for our economy, our environment and our descendants is good for all of us.

For more details on Honolulu’s rail transit project currently under construction, you can visit the project’s website. If you’re new to the topic or are still undecided as the local political season heats up, you can get a taste of the history behind this chronic debate from my 2008 list of 99 reasons why rail transit is a good fit for Honolulu’s urban core (and the common good).

Does anyone remember when rail transit was placed on the ballot 4 years ago at the request of rail opponents, only to see the majority of Oahu voters support it? Did we expect that vote to actually decide something? I suppose we could always vote on it again… and again… and again. Or we could simply allow the builders to finish building what we asked them to. And hope for the chance to ride someday.