Essay on Honolulu High-capacity Transit Corridor Project and Rail Transit

Submitted By shama808
Words: 868
Pages: 4

“Take in the mass, the automobile is a noxious mechanism whose destiny in workaday urban use is to frustrate man and make dead certain that he approaches his daily occupation unhappy and inefficient.” –Neal S. Blaisdell In 1966, Neal S. Blaisdell, Honolulu mayor at the time, suggested a rail line to lighten traffic congestion on the island of Oahu. Rail transit expects to reform traffic congestion in the greater Honolulu area. Changes and impacts have occurred and the rail transit in Hawaii has begun. There are three reasons why the rail transit in Hawaii has begun. First, to lighten up traffic problems on Oahu. The City forecasts that we are already 15% over capacity on H-1 during rush hour and a proposed two-lane, reversible elevated highway operated as a High-Occupancy/Toll facility (HOT lanes) has been suggested. Second, the involvement of politics and the 2008 Honolulu elections. Mufi Hanneman’s success in the November 4, general elections and the Stop Rail Now’s petition were also great contributors to the progress of the rail transit system. Finally, an event that caused revolution was the General Excise Tax (GET) increase. The GET increase from 4% to 4.5% to fund transportation projects in 2004 required Honolulu to use the funds only for the construction and operation of a mass transit system, and barred its use for public roads and other existing transit systems, such as TheBus. Many events occurred that might have sparked the topic of interest, which then led to the current events taking place. It all began with Neal S. Blaisdell in 1966, then-mayor, who suggested a rail line. Then it was Frank Fasi, in 1968 that was planning studies for a rail project. Later, President Ronald Regan cut off federal funding for upcoming transit projects. Next, the second effort was stopped in a vote in 1992 by the Honolulu City Council against a necessary tax increase. Finally in 2004, Mufi Hanneman began the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project (HHCTCP), the island's fourth attempt to build a mass transit system operating in a dedicated right-of-way causing three major impacts and having great effects. The first of the three impacts is an environmental impact, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that studied possible natural and social impacts of the construction and operation of the HHCTCP. Impacts relating to the DEIS include land acquisition from private owners on route, displacements of residents and businesses, aesthetic concerns related to the elevated guideway, and noise from passing trains; each with their own effects. An example of these effects for the displacement of residents and businesses would be compensation provided to affected property owners, businesses, or residents in compliance with all applicable Federal and State laws. The second of the three impacts is political, the 2008 Honolulu elections. The 2008 mayoral elections uncovered two rivals to Mufi Hannemann: City Councilmember Ann Kobayashi, and University of Hawaii professor Panos D. Prevedouros. Ann Kobayashi wanted a “rubber-tired” mass transit system and Panos D. Prevedouros wanted a reversible tollway of the H-1. Neither Kobayashi nor Prevedouros won a majority of votes in the September 20 primary election, eventually leading Hanneman to successfully hang on to his position. The third and final impact is cultural and this involves burial issues. A key-supporting factor is that historic human remains will be uncovered. Of…