Hawaii Gets Mass Transit

A rapid transit system gets closer to reality in Honolulu as officials conduct groundbreaking ceremony, while some still object to the project for aesthetic reasons.

The proposed 20 mile rail system is not insignificant, considering the Hawaiian city population of only 375,000 residents. It should be completed by 2019 after the FTA recommended it for federal funding.

"Despite the clear need for improved transportation systems in Honolulu, however, the project's gestation has been difficult... the recent election of Governor Neil Abercrombie and Mayor Peter Carlisle, both of whom assumed office in 2010, represented a major step forward, as each have been solid defenders of the project... It is true that the project remains under debate on both aesthetic and land use grounds. The elevated nature of the system has a number of advantages: It will allow trains to run much more quickly between the ends of the island... and it will offer automated trains, allowing high frequencies even off-peak (6 minute maximum) and lower labor costs because of the lack of train drivers.

Nonetheless, the elevated guideway will not be a particularly beautiful addition to the Hawai'i landscape, and in some places it could represent a barrier between the city and its waterfront."

Full Story: Rapid Transit Closer to Realization as Honolulu’s Rail Project Breaks Ground

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