ATI The Alliance for Traffic Improvement

Seeking cost effective ways to reduce traffic congestion on Oahu


March 30, Honolulu Advertiser. It headlines, “City officials to ‘huddle.’” My dictionary defines ‘huddle’ as “A small private conference or meeting.” As if we didn’t know. First off, no one in Hawaii’s transportation industry has been invited (to the best of our knowledge) and you can tell the outcome of these groups by who gets invited to “huddle.” The members of the ‘huddle’ will undoubtedly have a VISION which will be (are you ready?), rail transit, provider of the orgasmic W-H-O-O-O-S-H into town. So much for “open and transparent process” that Mufi promised us. Seems like same old, same old, to us.

March 30, Midweek. p. 18.( not available on the web). Rick Hamada used his regular column to lambaste Abercrombie’s arrogance in his ultimatum to local legislators. Rick puts it as, “all about ultimatum, all about muscle.” And, all about power. Rick made the point that Abercrombie didn’t create the wealth he wants to tax, nor did our legislators. But they have no qualm in taxing those who did. Good column, Rick.

  March 30, 2005.
The case against rail transit and for the alternatives on one page:
In an effort to have a simple one-page handout we have produced this new one that can be accessed by clicking on the underlined headline above. It's great for a single page handout.

March 29, 2005.
Abercrombie misleads again:
Congressman Abercrombie told a Senate hearing that we needed rail to reduce traffic congestion and that anyone opposed to rail was stupid and a member of the Flat Earth Society (see March 22). He told the Star-Bulletin (3/23 editorial) that he expected " the federal government would contribute more than half of the total cost, estimated at $2.6 billion." The fact is that the Federal Transit Administration has placed a limit of $500 million on each fixed guideway project as they told the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization last year. READ MORE   Abercrombie might say that he can get special legislation passed to circumvent this. However, it's a Republican Congress, 71 projects around the country are vying for funding and the FTA only has New Starts (Sec. 5309) funds of $1 billion annually for the entire country. Good luck!

March 27, 2005.
Honolulu: Fewest road miles per capita:
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows that Honolulu has the fewest 'Miles of Roadway Per Person' than any of the 401 Urbanized Areas that the FHWA tracks, which is basically anywhere with a population greater than 50,000. Only Honolulu has just 1.5 miles of road per 1,000 persons. See FHWA rankings
Our opinion:  Intuitively, the general public understands that we have a traffic problem and not a public transportation problem. Even the Chamber of Commerce is beginning to understand this. We reported their remarks on March 19, when they said, " "that more research needs to be done to determine the causes of our traffic challenges, and whether [rail] transit is the solution ...  there is a possibility this may not be a mass transit issue, but more of a transportation issue or to be specific a traffic issue." Maybe, one of these days, our Congressional delegation will get it.

Rail's operating subsidy $52 million annually:
That was the City's estimate from the 1992 plan. READ MORE  

Change made to 'Contacting Officials' tab:
We now link to the State maintained site that returns the name of your State Senator and Representative when you enter your street name. See 'Contacting officials' tab to the left.

March 24, 2005.
The Left gets it Right
The Progressive Policy Institute, proponents of the ‘third way,’ have just released a 14-page critique of: “the congestion coalition (a small, but extremely influential anti-highway, anti-car, and anti-suburban coalition) has changed the focus of transportation policy from one expanding supply to one of restraining demand and getting people out of cars.” It also says, “Progressives should define congestion as a problem of inadequate infrastructure. They should support an array of policies designed to give Americans the world-class transportation infrastructures they deserve, including public transit, biking and walking trails, and expanded and less congested roads.” Here are some excerpts from "Politics of Gridlock" which are must reading (there's also a link to the complete article.)

March 22, 2005.
Rail tax bill passes Senate Committee, 4-1
At yesterday’s hearing on the rail tax bill, our hirsute Congressman, Neil Abercrombie, testified in a foul mood about the absolute stupidity of those who opposed the rail tax bill and said they were members of the Flat Earth Society. Senator Slom firmly put him in his place. As expected the bill passed the Committee with only Senator Slom dissenting. There were some great testimonies in opposition to the bill while those favoring it, including Abercrombie’s, were testifying as though rail transit would cure traffic congestion when the record is quite clear that it will not. See 1991 Rail Evaluation and Congestion Study .
We also suggested yesterday during testimony that elected officials might peruse the 1991 study done by the Office of State Planning, called “An Evaluation of the Honolulu Rapid Transit Project.” The full study is available at the Municipal Library but we have culled out some of the juicier excerpts for you.
We also said that, like the Emperor in the fable, this train has no clothes. The
original story has elected officials totally persuaded that the con men's new cloth "had the strange quality of being invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office or unforgivably stupid.” In other words, if you can’t see that trains will reduce traffic congestion, you are unfit for office. Thus, predictably, the bill passed. READ THE STORY

About those capitalist toll roads:
On page A6 of today’s Wall Street Journal, is a report that “Chinese toll-road operator Jiangsu Expressway Co. said net profit last year slipped 1% … after it booked a provision for $27.3 million  for the expansion of its Shanghai-Nanjing Expressway.”
OUR OPINION: It is really quite strange that even though the communist People’s Republic of China favors privately operated toll roads, the elected officials of our People’s Republic appear to find the idea unthinkable.

March 19, 2005.
Senate Committees hears rail tax bill on Monday
The Senate Transportation and Governmental Affairs Committees will hear HB 1309, HD2, this Monday at 1:15 PM in Conference Room 224. We urge you to testify either in writing, or in person. As long as it is less than 5 pages, fax it addressed to Senator Lorraine Inouye's Transportation Committee c/o T he Senate Sergeant-At-Arms Office at 586-6659 at least 24 hours prior to the hearing adding that 30 copies are needed. READ MORE

. Today's Star-Bulletin cartoon says it about rail:

Finally: Chamber of Commerce to oppose rail tax bill:
The Chamber's Monday Report will announce that their Board of Directors has voted to oppose HB1309 HD2 — the rail tax bill. They believe "that more research needs to be done to determine the causes of our traffic challenges, and whether mass transit is the solution ...  there is a possibility this may not be a mass transit issue, but more of a transportation issue or to be specific a traffic issue." Well said. READ MORE  

The Chamber now joins Small Business Hawaii and NFIB who have been opposed to this bill for some time. This means that all the major general business organizations in Hawaii are now opposing the bill. In addition, the Hawaii Board of Realtors, the Retail Merchants Association of Hawaii, the League of Women Voters and ATI, of course, are also opposed.

Tax Foundation blitzes the rail tax:
Lowell Kalapa analyzes all the tax and revenue increases in last Monday's column calling the Senate rail tax bill "the most disgusting piece of legislation."   READ MORE  

March 11, 2005.
Dale Evans answers nonsense from City consultants:
Dale is CEO of Charley's Taxi and, as such, deals with moving the aged and infirm on a daily basis. She tells us that Wes Frysztacki's (a non-bid City consultant) opinion that rail transit is ideal for seniors, is ridiculous. She explains why: READ MORE

March 2, 2005.
Rail proponents reposition our argument:
In a clever move, our opponents have repositioned our argument that buses on HOT lanes are a better transit option than rail, into a "light" rail vs. highway argument. FACT: Honolulu has 4,200 bus stops; the rail line has just 19 stations. Virtually everyone will have to use buses to get to the rail stations and most likely a bus to get from the destination station to the workplace.
Put another way: With the HOT lanes option, if you live in Mililani, say, you can take an Express bus on the freeway to the Waikele area where the bus gets onto the HOT lanes and starts traveling at 55 mph into town and descends off the HOT lanes onto Nimitz HIghway at Pier 16 where you can be dropped of at various stops downtown. This is a faster option than the 22.5 mph rail, offers fewer transfers, and does not require a tax.
In addition, the space not occupied by buses and vanpools will be occupied by toll paying automobiles. The function of the toll is to manage the traffic by pricing, in the same way that we manage every other scarce resource in life. By varying the price every six minutes, as does the San Diego I-15 tollway, you can keep the HOT lanes free flowing AND full.  

March 1, 2005.
We found another charming view of the rail line:
This one shows the 75-foot high station at the foot of Bishop Street. The stations are quite massive since they have to have elevators and escalators on both sides of the street to comply with ADA requirements.