This letter was emailed to the mayor on 10 August 2008 with copies to the City council, local newspapers and columnists.
You posted this on your Hannemann's website link:
LIE: Rail is Mufi's boondoggle.
TRUTH: It is the responsibility of the mayor to help solve our growing traffic problems. While Mayor Hannemann has taken the initiative and led the effort to bring about a solution to relieve Honolulu's traffic congestion, elected officials throughout Hawaii--our entire Congressional delegation, our Governor, our State Legislature and our City Council--have all moved forward with this project in a responsible, careful and transparent way.
My Response: Your statement to solve the growing traffic problem is deceiving because you want the public to believe that your $7.0 Billion Rail is a solution to traffic congestion. In fact, the Rail transit will worsen traffic on H-1 as shown in your $10 million 2006 City Alternative Analysis Report for the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project. Table 3-12 of that report shows that after Rail is completed, traffic on H-1 will increase from today's volume of 10,960 vehicles per hour (which produces today's congestion at peak hour) to 17,414 vehicles per hour in 2030! This shows Rail will worsen the traffic congestion on H-1. It also means that Oahu will still need a new bypass highway around the bottlenecks at H-1/H-2 merge and at the Middle Street merge to provide the traffic relief NOT achieved by the rail transit.
UH Professor Panos Prevedouros Study "Transportation Alternative Analysis for Mitigating Traffic Congestion between Leeward Oahu and Honolulu." outlines Managed Lanes which will provide a separate express highway to bypass the known traffic bottlenecks at Pearl City and at Middle Street and will reduce H-1 congestion by 35 percent. Managed Lanes will cost of less than $900 Million (Tampa built a similar 10 mile three-lane ML for $320 million in 2005.) Managed Lanes ALONE will reduce congestion on H-1 without the $7.0 Billion Rail!
Managed Lane allows the commuter to get on morning express buses from each of the 14 to 18 communities in Central and West Oahu and travel non-stop, 60 mph, on the separate, elevated HOT starting at the H-1/H-2 merge near Pearl City to his/her destination at Pearl City or H-3/Aiea or Pearl Harbor/Hickam/Airport or Kalihi or Downtown Honolulu and beyond to U.H. Manoa or Ala Moana or Waikiki with zero or one transfer. HOT will: reduce traffic congestion on H-1 and in downtown; convert more commuters from cars to express buses because of near "door-to-door" convenience and high gas cost; reduce pollution by reducing cars on the freeways during peak hours and minimize downtown parking problems.
If jobs are needed to support Oahu’s slumping economy, the city will need to spend almost $3.0 billion to fix the City of Honolulu infrastructure deficiencies;: sewer mains and treatment plants; solid waste including recycling plants and one or two new H-Power plant(s) to close Waimanalo Gulch; upgrade water system; bypass road for Waianae District; Managed Lanes (three lanes reversible) to bypass the two traffic bottlenecks on H-1; synchronize downtown traffic lights; and build underpasses at major downtown intersections. Rail does not solve any of Honolulu's problems but it steals its entire budget for solving the island's real problems.
The bottom line is that the $7.0 Billion Rail is totally unnecessary to solve traffic congestion on Oahu and rail should be removed from consideration for mass transit.
Ben Ramelb P.E.