The apparent consensus to halt the rail project at Middle Street is a bitter pill.
Particularly for Mayor Caldwell who seemed to have been holding out hope for the whole 20-mile project until just last week.
But the reality was undeniable. City and state lawmakers are unlikely to give the project more money after having already endured the political heat once for extending the rail tax. Without more money…there is no way to hire contractors to build further than Middle Street anyway.
But no one should think this is the end of debate. A railway from Kapolei to Middle street will not attract enough fare-paying riders to cover even a small portion of the operating costs. That deficit will demand another tax.
This situation is embarrassing… but it would be even more embarrassing to have a 15-mile railway to nowhere marring the landscape.
Maybe there is a bright side to this. We now have a chance to reset. With a new and more open approach…so that lawmakers can know that the next ask for money…will finally be the last.