Local Connection: Unreality of Rail

Local Connection: Unreality of Rail

As rail construction began in earnest – we began in-depth reporting we called "the Reality of Rail."

Now "the Unreality of Rail" is more accurate.

That's because at this point – no one can say what the project even is.

The Honolulu council came very close to a vote that would have stopped the rail line at Middle Street.  In a compromise the council set a cap of $6.8 billion, about a billion dollars less than is needed to build to the current plan.

So we have a massive railroad already under construction with no real idea of what the end product will be.

What people are forgetting – or ignoring is that this project is not just about transit. It is about the economic vitality of our island.  We reported last week that cutting it short could reduce the amount of rail-related new housing by more than 15,000 units. The lost economic opportunity for urban redevelopment along the whole line could easily be in the billions of dollars.

This project will not go away and it shouldn't. We need our leaders to stop bickering and posturing. Get behind the project, set a plan, manage it well, find the money and build it right.

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