Pua: I've had several people use the justification for rail that it will give jobs to many unskilled workers and unemployed residents...AND...there won't be cars in 15-20 years. How do you respond to this reasoning?
Rail is a technology that will be purchased and "helicoptered into
place" much like the airplanes Hawaiian Air buys. They do create jobs,
but in Seattle.
Kiewit Hawaii won the fake contract to build the
first 6 miles of rail. They plan to deliver it using a workforce of 350
workers. The same workers can do the other two segments to complete 20 miles. Where is the
UHERO (UH economic research organization) predicted that at its
maximum rail will generate 2000 jobs of which 1000 may be local. So
rail's real job effect is smaller than the staffing of a large Hawaii
Furthermore, rail construction and assembly is a highly specialized
task that needs specialized labor and expensive training. Rail construction is far from being
an instant employer of unskilled labor.
Worse yet, we'll spend
money to train specialized workers which will do very little work for
2 to 4 months while they train. Then they will work for 5 to 8 years on the rail
construction sites. Then what? Their skills are not needed and their
jobs are not sustainable.
The future is for more autonomous mobility, not for a return to 19th
century mass transit. We will have electric cars. The state has
already signed a memo of understanding with Better Place. They develop
standardized battery packs.
Today you pull into a gas station and spend 3 to 8 minutes refueling
your car. In 2020 you will pull into a modified station, and park at a
designated stall. Then a robotic arm will remove the mostly spent battery
pack, replace it with a fully charged one, the cost will go to your credit
card and in less that 3 minutes you'll be refueled for 150 to 300 miles.
See this 2009 battery swap technology demonstrator: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/05/better-place/