HONOLULU (KHNL) -Thursday morning in the studio, Kristine Uyeno put the candidates for Honolulu Mayor to the test. Her first candidate up to bat was University of Hawaii professor Panos Prevedouros.
Kristine Uyeno: First we welcome UH professor Panos Prevodouros. Welcome again, Panos.
Panos Prevedouros: Good morning.
Kristine Ueno: Of course the hot issue during this campaign has been rail. You have been opposed tell us why?
Panos Prevedouros: Well the project simply doesn't fit. There are 36 cities with a population of half a million and two million in the United States. Out of the 36, three have light rail that runs grade, like the roads. And zero of them have an elevated heavy rail system that we plan here. So this project is out of proportion for our population, and we really don't have the means to pay for it.
Kristine Uyeno: Ok. So for our population what is the solution?
Panos Prevedouros:The solution would be something we could afford. In my integrated package, it talks about, first of all synchronizing the traffic lights. Because there are artificial bottlenecks. Then for a big project to address the Leeward commute, is hot lanes coming from the H1-H2 merge to Downtown, then connecting to a bus rapid transit system along King and Beratania. We are talking a cost of about 1.2 billion dollars which we can afford. That guarantees a travel time from Waipahu to Downtown in an express bus in twelve minutes. Or a drive time from Kapolei to the UH in express bus in fifteen minutes. So it is a far superior solution at one fifth of the price.
Kristine Uyeno:Ok. Now you have a background in Civil Engineering. You are a professor at the University of Hawaii. How do you think a background in Civil Engineering can help our other problems here in Honolulu?
Panos Prevedouros: Well actually that is a perfect background, specifically for the job of mayor in Honolulu because 80 percent of the job is public infrastructure and 80% percent is emergency operations. I have the exact background to deal with both of them. As you know Oahu has significant infrastructure issues with water mains. We had a water main break today in Kakaako. Sewage spills, we had a sewage spill yesterday in Moanalua and on and on. Of course our roads are also in a very poor state.
Kristine Uyeno: Ok. So infrastructure is a big thing here but the local economy, what do you plan to do about that?
Panos Prevedouros: Actually if you activate enough projects, affordable projects, projects our local companies can build immediately that is the number one solution to generating jobs. The rail project even if it comes it cannot start for another four years. We need economic relief now. And traffic congestion, repaving, sewer and water main repairing, can actually be done immediately.
Kristine Uyeno: What about your experience? Some might say you are a political newcomer. Why should I vote for you?
Panos Prevedouros: Because it is best to not carry baggage. I believe Oahu is in a crisis that was caused by politicians managing the process for over twenty years. So the question to the voting is. Do they think the politicians who put us in this mess can take us out of it? I think the answer is no, an engineer can do a far better job.
Kristine Uyeno:You think bringing in new blood into Honolulu Hale is good?
Panos Prevedouros: Absolutely, yes, yes it's a requirement now because we are in a very very poor state.
Kristine Uyeno:Well thank you for joining us Panos.
Kristine Uyeno: And good luck, good luck to your new baby. You have one due next week!