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  #101  
Old November 6th, 2006, 05:46 PM
joshuatree joshuatree is offline
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Default Re: Rail Transit

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Originally Posted by TuNnL View Post
Keep in mind, I support installing solar panels. But I think thieves have demonstrated they are perfectly willing and capable of dressing up as construction crews and targeting major transportation thoroughfares.
I agree, there's that risk. But at least with the copper thefts, they are merely donning hardhats and orange vests and pulling wire out of the ground. To have a loader so you can reach the elevated rail, that requires a much more sophisticated crew. Possible but much smaller chance. Plus, I dunno much about solar panels on the used market, are there recycling centers that buy panels? Can panels have something like VINs etched into them?
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  #102  
Old November 7th, 2006, 04:00 AM
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Default Re: Rail Transit

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Originally Posted by joshuatree View Post
1) Make rail run efficiently and timely. Then make all bus routes spreading out from rail stations run quickly and timely too.
I agree. But good luck in making it happen.


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3) Pass legislation that will tax employers on the x amt they pay out to subsidize their employee parking. At the same time, give tax incentives to employers for x amt they pay out to subsidize employee bus/rail passes.
I believe that employee parking is already taxed as salary unless it's part of the employee job description to visit clients like me.

Quote:
4) Remove whatever free street parking is left in the downtown area. Convert them to bike lanes, commercial loading/unloading only, and bus stops.
Free parking? Where?!?

Quote:
5) Build condos at or next to rail stations. These new residences should not have parking that just comes with the unit. Parking is extra.
Well, that's one way to do affordable housing. But it's still going to be ugly because either the other spouse needs the car to go to their non-downtown job, or it will be needed for errands. Carless commuting is one thing, Carless living is another.

Quote:
6) To be fair, only on areas of the island that will be served by rail, no new roads shall be built. The existing ones should be properly maintained and new suburbs being built out can have new roads but that's it. By doing this, and given the trend that there will be car growth, it's only time when that commute gets ugly enough that people will look at the rail while stuck in traffic and decide to switch over.
Why is it that most of this is about making rail attractive by making cars a pain? Why can't someone come up with a rail that will make people WANT to use it? Just legalize subscription taxi and I think you'll see a change.

Quote:
7) Raise vehicle registration fees considerably on people's second cars. People usually say they need to drive cuz they gotta drop off their kids, etc etc. But how often do both spouses do that? It's usually one spouse and the other merely drives a commuter car to get to work.
Please define "second car". Sounds to me like you've just increased the marriage tax. Why should people get married if they have to give up a car? Just shack up.

Quote:
8) This is only fair if the entire island is served by rail. Slap on more taxes on the price of gas so it hits $3 or $4 a gallon. That's plenty incentive there to move to rail.
Political suicide. The politicians would be kicked out so fast and so hard their butts would leave skid marks starting at 50ft from the door.

Also, be careful that you don't cause business to flee downtown and turn it into a decaying core. It's happened in other cities.
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  #103  
Old November 7th, 2006, 10:20 AM
Bard Bard is offline
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Default Re: Rail Transit

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Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
Free parking? Where?!?
We parked for an entire week for free along the Ala Wai canal in Waikiki.
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  #104  
Old November 7th, 2006, 11:14 AM
joshuatree joshuatree is offline
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Default Re: Rail Transit

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Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
I believe that employee parking is already taxed as salary unless it's part of the employee job description to visit clients like me.
If so, then the gov't needs to give out the incentive to employers that subsidizes bus/rail passes.

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Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
Free parking? Where?!?
I believe there are a few spots in the Chinatown area. But let me rephrase that statement to better reflect the situation. Remove whatever street parking that is left.

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Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
Well, that's one way to do affordable housing. But it's still going to be ugly because either the other spouse needs the car to go to their non-downtown job, or it will be needed for errands. Carless commuting is one thing, Carless living is another.
I didn't say these new housing projects don't have garages but they should not be free. Affordable housing doesn't mean entitlement to everything.

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Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
Why is it that most of this is about making rail attractive by making cars a pain? Why can't someone come up with a rail that will make people WANT to use it? Just legalize subscription taxi and I think you'll see a change.
Is it really about making cars a pain or more about leveling the playing field? As recent as the 30s and 40s, most major American cities had streetcars. But we decided to subsidize on a massive scale with the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 which was lobbied for by US automakers so thus the Interstates were born and usually acts as the backbone of any current US city's car network. Only 56% of construction and maintenance is paid for by gasoline taxes. Rest is subsidized by the federal budget, translation, the American taxpayer, even those that don't own a car. The Oahu Railway and Land Company ran a profitable rail on Oahu until the spread of public funded roads killed them off.

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Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
Please define "second car". Sounds to me like you've just increased the marriage tax. Why should people get married if they have to give up a car? Just shack up.
I'm only tossing out ideas and I did say some would be aggressive. If couples are willing to just shack up just to save on owning a second car, that's pretty sad. Shows you how much they value the concept of marriage. But that's another topic for another thread. But the truth is, there are quite a few households where there are more cars than number of people under the same roof. You need to figure a way to discourage that. Maybe a retuned idea would be to increase the vehicle registration fees to a considerable amount on vehicles that are over a certain weight? To at least discourage the choice of inefficient cars. But then, people will complain about that too. We're a nation of whiners.

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Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
Political suicide. The politicians would be kicked out so fast and so hard their butts would leave skid marks starting at 50ft from the door.

Also, be careful that you don't cause business to flee downtown and turn it into a decaying core. It's happened in other cities.
I don't know how raising the price of gas across the entire island will cause business to flee downtown alone. Maybe the island. But then again, when has the state of Hawaii been business friendly? Shouldn't bother them now.

Political suicide? What about those who recommend the way to fix the commute problem is to limit population growth? Trying to decide who can move where in a democratic country?

I did say some of my suggestions were passive, some subtle, and some aggressive.
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  #105  
Old November 8th, 2006, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by joshuatree View Post
I don't know how raising the price of gas across the entire island will cause business to flee downtown alone.
I was making a broader comment, it wasn't tied to the gas price. More specifically taking away parking downtown will cause decay. If parking is not necessary for business to function, then please explain a major feature found at Ala Moana Center, K-Mart, Wal-Mart or any other big box store. If customers can't park, they'll shop somewhere else. If offices find it hard to get employees or generally find it too much hassle due to lack of employee parking they may relocate. And the decay begins.

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Originally Posted by Bard View Post
We parked for an entire week for free along the Ala Wai canal in Waikiki.
And the one time every 3 months I go to Waikiki, I park in a metered stall. I guess that's why I didn't think of that. See my other post on parking and effects on business. Take away parking and say goodbye to small business.
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  #106  
Old November 8th, 2006, 02:01 PM
Bard Bard is offline
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Default Re: Rail Transit

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Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
If customers can't park, they'll shop somewhere else. If offices find it hard to get employees or generally find it too much hassle due to lack of employee parking they may relocate. And the decay begins.
Alternatively there are plenty of people (like me) who would jump at the ability to get rid of our cars, especially in an island isolation situation. Those types are more likely to move into the areas that are well-serviced by public transit and walking distance shopping. In that case parking is just wasted space that could be housing more stores or even more housing.

It's tough to say for sure what would happen, but it's definitely not a one-way argument. Downtown Portland for example has parking, but it's very expensive and often tough to find a space in some areas... and people have flocked into downtown in droves to live and work. Thanks to an emphasis on high-density housing/business combinations and a strict urban growth boundary, it is possible to drive for 20 minutes and be in the wilderness and farmlands here.

Added: One of the places I've seen some of the worst urban decay, btw, is in Dallas where it's extremely flat and very easy to move out farther and farther. Everyone just moves out another layer every few years to escape the city, and the abandon what they left behind for decay. The neighborhood I grew up in there used to be pretty nice, and it's halfway to being a ghetto now. Only recently have they started putting in high-density living in the downtown city core, along with light rail and other transit improvements, and it's starting to turn around again.

Last edited by Bard; November 8th, 2006 at 02:03 PM. Reason: Added
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  #107  
Old November 8th, 2006, 03:01 PM
joshuatree joshuatree is offline
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Default Re: Rail Transit

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Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
I was making a broader comment, it wasn't tied to the gas price. More specifically taking away parking downtown will cause decay. If parking is not necessary for business to function, then please explain a major feature found at Ala Moana Center, K-Mart, Wal-Mart or any other big box store. If customers can't park, they'll shop somewhere else. If offices find it hard to get employees or generally find it too much hassle due to lack of employee parking they may relocate. And the decay begins.
In this regard, you are right. A certain amount of available parking or lack of can influence decay in downtown. But my suggestion is to remove all remaining street parking, not parking all together. And I should clarify to do this only after a rail/bus system has been set in place to offer an alternative, not before. Downtown Honolulu does have a substantial pool of parking garages. Affordable is another question.

The premise behind removing street parking and to discourage employers from subsidizing parking is to show a true reflection of the cost of the automobile to Joe Average. You asked earlier what ways can be done to encourage people to get on the rail, aside from those that are car disadvantaged. These are subtle ways. No one is ordering you to take rail/bus but if you don't like the real cost of parking a car in downtown, well, you can take rail/bus.

On a more macroscopic level, the reason why centers like Ala Moana, Wal-Mart, etc require huge parking lots in order to retain customers is because our city, our society, our lifestyle, is overwhelmingly car based. You can hit huge shopping centers or stores in Japan and there won't be a single parking spot, they have a huge lot in front for bicycles though. People argue that we're in the US, so what other countries do don't apply. But the truth is, growing population is the same problem no matter what part of the world you are in. And the effect is even more pronounced when you are on an island because you have finite land. What Oahu really needs is a clear and coordinated urban growth plan. If you want to retain any countryside or open spaces, you need to designate them as off limits to urban growth. And the places that already have urban growth, you need to allow density. I know the word density sounds bad, but that's the only way you can anticipate population growth without further sprawl. And to allow density, you need to lift restriction on building heights and you need to move people away from car use as the primary transport. It doesn't mean people can't own cars, but the attitude should be a car is more of a luxury item than a necessity.
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  #108  
Old November 8th, 2006, 04:21 PM
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Default Re: Rail Transit

The State of WA requires that companies employing more than 50 people have to offer incentives to their workers to cut down on single driver commuters. And every year the company has to file its results with the State.

The State gives tax incentives to the employers who show that they are proactively trying to encourage alternative means of transportation. For the larger employers, this is a huge incentive. Some of the things that are offered are company-subsidized bus passes, company-sponsored car pools, flextime, telecommuting, and company owned vehicles that can be used by employees for their errands during the day (Flexcar), and guaranteed transportation home in case of an emergency. The City has a contest every year to find the company that has the most people who ride bikes to and from their workplace. Metro provides bike lockers and racks at their transit stations and park and rides for people who want to leave their cars at transit stations and bike to work. City buses all have bike racks in the front.

One of the least painful ways to get cars off the road during peak hours is to offer employees flextime. This is especially convenient for people who work in offices because they could come to work as early as 7 a.m. and leave by 3 or 3:30, which leaves lots of daylight to go out and do things afterwards, or for those who work other alternative schedules (4-10 hour days, for example) it means not having to compete in traffic at least one workday a week.

Miulang
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  #109  
Old November 11th, 2006, 12:37 AM
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Default Re: Rail Transit

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Originally Posted by joshuatree View Post
You can hit huge shopping centers or stores in Japan and there won't be a single parking spot, they have a huge lot in front for bicycles though.
See photo. Diaei in Yokosuka.


Quote:
People argue that we're in the US, so what other countries do don't apply.
We grew our areas around cars. The others have grown them around mass transit. So how do we transition without creating serious problems? The transformation is not trivial. Many private citizens will bear the cost directly rather then shared.
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  #110  
Old November 11th, 2006, 02:21 AM
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Default Re: Rail Transit

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Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
Many private citizens will bear the cost directly rather then shared.
Personally bearing the cost to have to pay for this via increased taxes is what I am opposed to the most. No one can afford this and no one should be forced to pay for this huge debaucle.
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  #111  
Old November 11th, 2006, 03:38 AM
joshuatree joshuatree is offline
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Default Re: Rail Transit

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Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
See photo. Diaei in Yokosuka.




We grew our areas around cars. The others have grown them around mass transit. So how do we transition without creating serious problems? The transformation is not trivial. Many private citizens will bear the cost directly rather then shared.
I didn't say there are no stores in Japan without parking, just that you do have stores without car parking as opposed to any major stores in the US.

Yes, a transition won't be easy. But is the car/urban sprawl model of growth sustainable? I do wish the gov't would have made a greater effort in figuring out the finance portion. I don't think building a tollway is a smart idea. Short term, sure, price tag is cheaper and alleviates traffic. Long term, how does this address the problem of more cars in any meaningful way?

Increasing the GET tax is never a good thing, especially since it's a GET tax. But part of me wonders, how much would we get as a subsidy from our tourists? You figure they would spend money while in town so they pay tax too.
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  #112  
Old November 11th, 2006, 11:53 AM
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Sustainable? Sustainable? SUSTAINABLE?

That is the word that is the root of the problem. Many folks who promote "Sustainability" would say that low density growth is best so everybody can have a garden. But Low Density growth promotes dependence upon the automobile. But the greens don't want to admit that. Oh, and tall buidings would ruin the view. LOL.

It is one of the classic Cog Diss arguments of the left.
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  #113  
Old November 11th, 2006, 12:08 PM
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A transition is doable and possible. There are a number of cities that are undergoing it now.

I think the real question is, can you afford not to do it? I'll be the first to admit the convenience of driving a car everywhere (and certainly some people can not go without a car, like many elderly people), but for absolutely everyone to drive cars... there are simply too many people and not enough space for roads, not enough resources to power all those new cars, not enough air left to absorb the pollution, ... it's gonna come to a head sooner or later. We can't force people to stop having so many children. So we have to do the next best thing -- change the economic incentives for how we build our cities and live our lives, to try to make it more long-term sustainable.

On the mainland we do have the option (considering all possibilities here) to just give up and start building new cities in the wilderness. More roads and bigger roads. Soon all will be covered in concrete heat sinks. Or we can do something really sensible and try to build condensed communities that have everything you need within walking or biking distance (thus providing natural exercise as well, another serious problem) with easy and fast transit between them.

Island communities don't particularly even have that "build out" option.

It's not a panacea, but IMO it's better than crossing our fingers and hoping that more and more cars will work out for the best. Make no mistake, that's what's going to happen over time as the population increases and they have no choice but to commute for hours because of the way our cities were built before they were born.
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  #114  
Old December 24th, 2006, 12:12 PM
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Exclamation Re: Rail Transit

Well, the Advertiser front page said, simply:

Transit approved
Quote:
The City Council yesterday approved a mass-transit plan for O'ahu that could go from Kalaeloa to Manoa and Waikiki and cost more than $5 billion. After a daylong session with more twists and turns than a train heading up a mountain pass, council members voted 7-2 to designate a fixed-guideway system, using either buses or rail, that supporters say will shape and guide O'ahu's growth for generations to come.
At the Star-Bulletin, it was:

All Aboard
Quote:
The City Council, in a 7-2 vote yesterday, gave final approval to a fixed guideway mass transit system for Oahu but left it to Mayor Mufi Hannemann to decide key segments of the route. The Council settled the debate between the so-called green and yellow alternative lines in West Oahu by designating that both should be considered for a route that will run from west Kapolei to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, with a spur to Waikiki. The route is at least 28 miles long and has a minimum price tag of $4.6 billion, but no final numbers were available.
The City Council, in an ostensibly "historic" vote, actually punted on a couple of the biggest questions still looming: rail or something else (using the weasel term "fixed guideway" instead), and which route.

Mayor Mufi Hanneman, ringing a bell for the Salvation Army at Pearlridge yesterday, said the former question was answered in his mind already: rail.

I'm glad for it. But given how many complications and double-crosses have plagued rail transit in this town, for as long as I've been alive, I'll still be shocked and surprised if ground is actually broken on this thing by 2009.
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  #115  
Old December 24th, 2006, 03:59 PM
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Thumbs down Re: Rail Transit

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Originally Posted by pzarquon View Post
I'm glad for it. But given how many complications and double-crosses have plagued rail transit in this town, for as long as I've been alive, I'll still be shocked and surprised if ground is actually broken on this thing by 2009.
I hope all of you rail supporters are smiling every time that 4.7% exise tax is added to the bill on everything that we will be buying come January 1.

The opponents will continue to oppose this huge debaucle til the day the train plan hopefully dies.

Happy New Year.

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  #116  
Old December 24th, 2006, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mel View Post
I hope all of you rail supporters are smiling every time that 4.7% exise tax is added to the bill on everything that we will be buying come January 1.

The opponents will continue to oppose this huge debaucle til the day the train plan hopefully dies.

Happy New Year.
If you don't like it... you can always move to the mainland.
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  #117  
Old December 24th, 2006, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mel View Post
... to oppose this huge debaucle til the day the train plan hopefully dies.
i hope time will prove me wrong, but my gut feeling is that it'll prove to be a bottomless pit...
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  #118  
Old December 24th, 2006, 05:38 PM
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Default Re: Rail Transit

Anyone remember this episode of the Simpsons?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marge_vs._the_Monorail
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  #119  
Old December 24th, 2006, 06:29 PM
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i hope time will prove me wrong, but my gut feeling is that it'll prove to be a bottomless pit...
I dunno, the yellow line installation in Portland came in under budget and finished sooner than expected. So it's possible for things to go right

Different worlds, I know, but... people said the same thing about the yellow line too.
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  #120  
Old December 24th, 2006, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Palolo Joe View Post
If you don't like it... you can always move to the mainland.
I'm sure you'll be smiling ear to ear everytime you pay that extra tax.
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  #121  
Old December 24th, 2006, 08:17 PM
joshuatree joshuatree is offline
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Default Re: Rail Transit

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Originally Posted by mel View Post
I hope all of you rail supporters are smiling every time that 4.7% exise tax is added to the bill on everything that we will be buying come January 1.

The opponents will continue to oppose this huge debaucle til the day the train plan hopefully dies.

So now that a vote has been taken, instead of getting together and moving forward, you rather sabotage? And you wonder why public money is constantly wasted. Oh well.....
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  #122  
Old December 24th, 2006, 09:11 PM
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Default Re: Rail Transit

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Originally Posted by joshuatree View Post
So now that a vote has been taken, instead of getting together and moving forward, you rather sabotage? And you wonder why public money is constantly wasted. Oh well.....
I don't know why rail supporters feel so threatened. You folks are winning.
  • The Governor handed you the tax increase on the silver platter in 2005
  • Mayor Hannemann is trumpeting nothing but rail
  • He wants only rail, no busses even though the Council left the technology open ended
  • The tax increase takes effect in only 8 days (Jan 1, 2007)
  • The "preferred alternative" has been chosen
  • The construction firms, unions and developers are salivating at the propsal - lots of $$$ for them to make
  • You get the illusion of ending traffic gridlock
  • With Democrats in control of Congress, rail supporters will have an easier time securing the federal funds (more taxes)
  • With Democrats in control as usual at the Legislature, rail supporters will ask for and probably get more tax increases


Rail supporters have a lot to celebrate on January 1 as the sucking sound of more money out of our wallets begin. You won.

Happy New Year.


Last edited by mel; December 24th, 2006 at 09:25 PM. Reason: add links
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  #123  
Old December 24th, 2006, 09:42 PM
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I'm curious what this will do to the property values long-term on the Leeward side. You make it easier to get to town, and then those with money will come in and drive up the prices.
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  #124  
Old December 25th, 2006, 01:21 AM
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Default Re: Rail Transit

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Originally Posted by mel View Post
Rail supporters have a lot to celebrate on January 1 as the sucking sound of more money out of our wallets begin. You won.
If you don't like it, you can always move to the mainland...
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  #125  
Old December 25th, 2006, 02:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mel View Post
I don't know why rail supporters feel so threatened. You folks are winning.
  • The Governor handed you the tax increase on the silver platter in 2005
  • Mayor Hannemann is trumpeting nothing but rail
  • He wants only rail, no busses even though the Council left the technology open ended
  • The tax increase takes effect in only 8 days (Jan 1, 2007)
  • The "preferred alternative" has been chosen
  • The construction firms, unions and developers are salivating at the propsal - lots of $$$ for them to make
  • You get the illusion of ending traffic gridlock
  • With Democrats in control of Congress, rail supporters will have an easier time securing the federal funds (more taxes)
  • With Democrats in control as usual at the Legislature, rail supporters will ask for and probably get more tax increases
I don't think any pro-rail folks feel threatened. Nor do I see this as any pissing contest to be won.

Some of us feel rail is the better answer to future transport, some feel it's roads. Fixed guideway won the vote so it would be great to see people focus on getting it done right and on budget instead of trying to sabotage the efforts. The latter will indeed make all the talk of failure a self-fulfilling prophecy. Then you truly are wasting taxpayer's money.

People with money to invest will always drive up real estate. Having a rail will at least help draw developers away from developing new lands, something that would benefit us all since we are on an island.
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