Honolulu's Rail Plan Debated Amongst Engineers

A Univ. of HI civil engineering professor blasts the professional engineering group of Hawaii's endorsement of the planned, elevated rail system. Voters supported the system in a 2008 election, but it has since become politically contentious.

In this op-ed, Professor Panos D. Prevedouros (civil engineering, University of HI) and likely Honolulu mayoral candidate, slams an April 7, Star Bulletin commentary,"Engineers will do their part to ensure that the rail system is safe and effective" that promotes the Honolulu light rail system being planned.

He asserts that "the political establishment and most of Oahu's special interest groups including the (American Council of Engineering Companies of Hawaii) are in support of the gravy train."

One reference is the Brookings 2006 study, "On the Social Desirability of Urban Rail Transit Systems" by economists Clifford Winston (Brookings Institution) and Vikram Maheshri (University of California at Berkeley).

He also cites a study from "three scientists-Bent Flyvbjerg of Oxford University and Massimo Garbuio and Dan Lorvallo of the University of Sydney-(who) analyzed 44 urban rail projects and found that the average construction cost overrun in constant prices was 45 percent."

From Engineers will do their part to ensure that the rail system is safe and effective:
"Hawaii's engineering industry has avoided public debates because there are endless opinions and no "silver bullets" when it comes to resolving traffic problems."

Thanks to Louis Nuyens

Full Story: Rail is a gravy train only for its promoters

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