Monday, October 13, 2008

Anti-Rail Movement, Show me the Study

As of this date, opponents to the Fixed Guideway mass transit system have not prepared a study or assessment of similar weight as the Alternative Analysis procured by the City. Consequently, the anti-rail messaging strategy has been a classic rhetorical attack which employs an appeal to the pathos, logic, and ethos of voters. This translates into (1) an appeal to the visceral reactions of the public to financing and land use questions, (2) factual claims that sound reasonable but which are based on various facts and anecdotal evidence not directly applicable to Hawaii or this project in particular, and (3) character attacks.

To determine which transportation alternative works best for Oahu, the City procured an Alternatives Analysis from the transportation engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, which was delivered to the Council in October 2006. The Analysis took over a year to prepare. It evaluated four options intended to improve the mobility, reliability and equity of Honolulu's transportation system in the fastest-growing corridor on Oahu. The four alternatives studied were as follows: No Build, Transportation System Management (e.g., more buses, lanes, and zipper lane improvements), Managed Lane (e.g., a two-lane highway viaduct as a toll road), and a Fixed Guideway.

The Alternative Analysis determined that the Fixed Guideway alternative reduced traffic congestion and increased public transit ridership more than managed highway lanes. In January 2007, consistent with the recommendations of the Alternatives Analysis, Ordinance No. 07-001 became law. It was adopted by the Council in an 8 for and 2 against (Djou and Marshall) vote. The Ordinance provides that "a fixed guideway system is the best selection for the long-term needs and demands of our growing island population."

Who decides what is good for the people? This November 4, Ohau voters will have two options: (1) follow the advice of their democratically elected leaders who by law must operate openly and under public scrutiny, or (2) follow the wishes of a special interest group that is not accountable to the people?

No comments: