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  #76  
Old November 4th, 2006, 12:28 PM
Bard Bard is offline
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Default Re: Rail Transit

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Originally Posted by Composite 2992 View Post
It's not zero emissions as it still gets electricity from a powerplant. But that powerplant is heavily filtered and the emissions are cleaner than the average car.
And even that is not necessarily true forever. Electricity can come from many sources, and Hawai`i is particularly wealthy in renewable power if people would harness it. Geothermal, tidal, wind, solar, ...

You can also have electric cars, but lemme count the number of those in production on my fingers... oh yeah, those golf cart tourist things
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  #77  
Old November 4th, 2006, 06:55 PM
joshuatree joshuatree is offline
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Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade and Douglas Inc., the consulting firm that conducted a study of transit alternatives for the city, estimated the cost of constructing such a managed lane alternative at $2.6 billion, with financing costs of $1.1 billion, for a total of nearly $3.9 billion.

So it looks like building another highway ain't such a cheap deal either.

By the way, I took a look at honolulutraffic.com. Their biggest hype is to build a reversible tollway like the one built in Tampa. A 9 mile, 3 lane, reversible elevated highway built over the center median of an existing highway that charges $1 toll for every vehicle. Cost is about $320 million as they put it. Oh yeah, it didn't cost the taxpayers anything because they didn't raise any new taxes for this project. And if we build one, it's also eligible for federal funding.

Sounds great but here's what they don't tell you.

- The project had issues, sections of it collapsed, so the final price tag is $420 million. And I'm not even sure if that's in 2006 dollars since the original idea was floated in 1995.

- No new taxes were raised but the local gov't raised bonds to cover the expense of the project and hopes to recoup the cost through tolls. Last time I checked, raising bonds still means the taxpayer owes money, maybe not right away in the form of taxes but it's still a debt the taxpayer owes. Nice marketing spin though.

- They are raising the tolls to $1.50 in 2007, 2 years ahead of schedule. That's for 9 miles. So supposedly if we build like the full length of rail, that would mean maybe a 27-mile reversible tollway for us? So the toll be about $4.50?

- The required median width used to build the Tampa tollway is 46 feet. Where at any section of our H1 do we have a 46 foot wide center median to be available for use?

- The federal New Start funding program may not be available for building a tollway. Per FTA's website.

Projects eligible for New Starts (49 USC §5309) funding include any fixed guideway system which utilizes and occupies a separate right-of-way, or rail line, for the exclusive use of mass transportation and other high occupancy vehicles, or uses a fixed centenary system and a right-of-way usable by other forms of transportation.

Keyword is "exclusive", if you build a tollway where any car can use it after paying a toll, that highway is no longer exclusive for mass transportation (buses).

So after paying for this tollway in the form of bonds and tolls, I still gotta drive myself in my own car and pay for my gas and wear and tear to get from A to B? How is that a cheaper option to rail?

Last edited by joshuatree; November 4th, 2006 at 07:03 PM.
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  #78  
Old November 4th, 2006, 07:47 PM
Miulang Miulang is offline
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Tollways are actually efficient ways to cut down on unnecessary traffic and single car commuters and prevent taxes from being raised. Only those who use the roads would pay for the right to drive on it. The downside is, if there are alternate routes through a community, those feeder streets would probably experience increased traffic because of the numbers of people who want to avoid having to pay that toll, which invariably would cause dangerous situations in neighborhoods.

There is no one solution to traffic congestion, but giving people alternatives so they can choose how much pain they're willing to bear is the only way to solve the problem. For people in a hurry, paying a premium to drive alone to work is something they will have to consider. For those who are looking for cheaper ways to commute, public transportation is more cost effective, but it does mean having to be a little more rigorous about schedules and making some compromises.

How much is it worth to a person to not have to sit in a car on a congested highway by instead travelling above all of it, possibly being crammed into a box with many other people, maybe getting a little exercise by walking a few blocks to/from a station and being a slave to a transit schedule that may be a little inconvenient?

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  #79  
Old November 4th, 2006, 08:16 PM
damontucker damontucker is offline
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Default Re: Rail Transit

Would raising the driving age to say 18 help cut down on traffic? Just a thought.
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  #80  
Old November 4th, 2006, 09:10 PM
Miulang Miulang is offline
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Originally Posted by manoasurfer123 View Post
Would raising the driving age to say 18 help cut down on traffic? Just a thought.
One group would be extremely pleased with that idea: parents who now often buy their high school-aged kids brand new cars so they can drive to school while the parents make do with their clunkers.

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  #81  
Old November 5th, 2006, 05:37 AM
Composite 2992 Composite 2992 is offline
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And even that is not necessarily true forever. Electricity can come from many sources, and Hawai`i is particularly wealthy in renewable power if people would harness it. Geothermal, tidal, wind, solar, ...
Solar needs to be given a lot more serious consideration, especially with the gradual price drop and how much sun we get year 'round.

Well, I drive a hybrid. And am considering solar-powering the house. I am by no means considered a "green earth" type by any means. But I'm in certainly in favor of making the most of our limited resources and maintaining a decent quality of life.

My other car is an SUV. But that is used mostly to haul heavy, bulky gear used for work. Or to tow a trailer.
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  #82  
Old November 5th, 2006, 06:00 AM
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Solar needs to be given a lot more serious consideration, especially with the gradual price drop and how much sun we get year 'round.
You might want to look into the environmental impact of solar cell manufacturing. There's some really nasty stuff that's used and quite a bit of energy. They are working on that, but I'm not sure how far they've gotten. I didn't see a recent paper in my quick search. I found a nearly 10 year old paper that said they think they can get the energy payback down to a year or two years depending on the panel type. That's energy payback, not dollar.
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  #83  
Old November 5th, 2006, 05:31 PM
Composite 2992 Composite 2992 is offline
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You might want to look into the environmental impact of solar cell manufacturing. There's some really nasty stuff that's used and quite a bit of energy. They are working on that, but I'm not sure how far they've gotten. I didn't see a recent paper in my quick search. I found a nearly 10 year old paper that said they think they can get the energy payback down to a year or two years depending on the panel type. That's energy payback, not dollar.
If you count lead acid battery storage, then there's a major potential for environmental damage if those things aren't properly recycled. Just like car batteries that are too often dumped along the roadside.

I figure investment payback would come in about 20 years, based on what it costs to install a system large enough to run my house, and what we're currently (no pun intended) paying for electricity.

If this were done on a much larger scale, let's say if a major percentage of homes were to install solar electric panels, then there would be less need for transmission lines and a reduced need for plant expansion.

But all this digresses from the original topic of a rail transit system...
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  #84  
Old November 5th, 2006, 06:14 PM
joshuatree joshuatree is offline
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Originally Posted by Composite 2992 View Post
If you count lead acid battery storage, then there's a major potential for environmental damage if those things aren't properly recycled. Just like car batteries that are too often dumped along the roadside.

I figure investment payback would come in about 20 years, based on what it costs to install a system large enough to run my house, and what we're currently (no pun intended) paying for electricity.

If this were done on a much larger scale, let's say if a major percentage of homes were to install solar electric panels, then there would be less need for transmission lines and a reduced need for plant expansion.

But all this digresses from the original topic of a rail transit system...
Well, if the gov't has any vision, they could cough up the extra few dollars (compared to the price tag of the rail), and install solar panels running the entire length of the elevated railway. All that power generated throughout the day gets fed back into HECO's grid for credits and to avoid the need for batteries. This should offset the power that rail will draw from HECO.

And a random thought here, but they should probably plant vines around each of the concrete pillars used to elevate the rail. Makes it look a little greener and more importantly, discourages graffiti. Kinda hard to tag over plants.
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  #85  
Old November 5th, 2006, 08:14 PM
Bard Bard is offline
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Originally Posted by joshuatree View Post
And a random thought here, but they should probably plant vines around each of the concrete pillars used to elevate the rail. Makes it look a little greener and more importantly, discourages graffiti. Kinda hard to tag over plants.
The city here lets vines grow all over the walls separating freeways from neighborhood. It's beautiful, especially in the fall when they are all changing yellow and red (guess you guys wouldn't get that though )
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  #86  
Old November 5th, 2006, 08:19 PM
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Angry Re: Rail Transit

So....one newspaper says the rail is gonna cost

150 MILLION per year to maintain, and we're still talking about whether we want it, or not?~!~

Uh, on this very thread, wasn't it? dang I better get more caffeine, LOL someone posted to me that rail won't cost much more or any more than roads to maintain, and suggested we can't even afford to keep our potholes fixed, so bring on the rail.

Uh...help me here! More than ten MILLION A MONTH to have rail AFTER we're further taxed to build it?! We don't spend that stinkin much on potholes, no way!

Rail? my wallet's screaming, MUFI, are you listening?~~

I ain't gonna use it, but of course if I was hearing from others that they are, okay fine, leaves en emptier road for me, but...

they ain't either!
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  #87  
Old November 5th, 2006, 09:44 PM
joshuatree joshuatree is offline
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Hmm....I found the Honolulu Advertiser saying it will be over $120 mil to operate and maintain the system and to subsidize fares to keep them low.

But, according to the DOT 2005 annual report, for Oahu.

$12 mil to install ADA improvements and emergency telephones.
$28 mil in roadway resurfacing, rehabilitation, and repair projects.
$13 mil in intersection improvements along Nimitz.
$48 mil on H3 to install fiber optic/comm lines, tv cameras, & monitoring equipment.

So that already is $101 million. Wonder how much was the tab to power them street lights and traffic lights? How about street cleaning? These amounts don't include the amount you spent maintaining your car for 2005.

There's also another $230 million in constructions projects that are ongoing. These projects involve resurfacing, rehabilitation, and repair. No new roads. All operation and maintenance.
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  #88  
Old November 6th, 2006, 04:02 AM
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If you count lead acid battery storage, then there's a major potential for environmental damage if those things aren't properly recycled. Just like car batteries that are too often dumped along the roadside.
At least you can see the "big picture". Frankly I think our existing system is rather environmentally benign. The problem is the volume.
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  #89  
Old November 6th, 2006, 04:12 AM
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I ain't gonna use it, but of course if I was hearing from others that they are, okay fine, leaves en emptier road for me, but...

they ain't either!
That's be biggest worry. Who's gong to ride this thing? I live and work near downtown. I won't be riding it.

Even if I moved out of downtown, I'd still be taking my car. I need a car to visit customers. My employer pays the parking stall, so I don't care what it costs to park downtown. Short of a careerer change, I can't see myself on mass transit. But if I'm paying or it, I dang well want to make sure it's getting used!

So what's it going to take to get the average commuter on mass transit and not just those who can't afford to drive?
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  #90  
Old November 6th, 2006, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by joshuatree View Post
install solar panels running the entire length of the elevated railway. All that power generated throughout the day gets fed back into HECO's grid for credits and to avoid the need for batteries. This should offset the power that rail will draw from HECO.
Using the grid as a battery has it's limits. Secondly, you're talking about the same HECO that had a 12+ hour black out when 12% if their generation suddenly went off line. Think they can handle a sudden cloud?
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  #91  
Old November 6th, 2006, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Karen View Post
Sinjin.....very expensive? you pay for it one time...to build. Rail? Oh, the maintenace, the repairs! the energy to make the thing RUN!! and it will clutter even more of the island, and people will not use it, sorry but I am not being a smart aleck, it will not catch on, plus our having the bus people, not happening. We all are short for time, rush rush, and so when out, we need to make several stops, redeeming our time. Rail is not going to catch on, I am one of many that won't even bother trying to use it, and maybe, once....I will ride it for pure fun, and then.....I'll know why I am not bothering to use it.

Double decker highways, then we just have to keep them paved, big deal....and we all get to keep using our own private autos, less germs, no privacy intrusion, Much more time usage, and look, twice the highways! and much less congestion.
Firstly you must remember that double-decking a highway is like building a bridge the length of the highway. That's costly. No potholes at least as we build bridges with concrete(PCC), not asphalt. There are still maintenance costs in perpetuity but reasonable. A rail system would have a lower cost to build in my estimation. Would depend on whether is was elevated or at ground level or below. The operational costs would be high but as others have said, driving cars has a per mile cost as well.

Interesting you mention germs. While it's true one trades privacy and time for lower commute cost when using public transportation, exposure to germs would be higher. Germaphobes probably don't make good mass transit commuters.
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Last edited by sinjin; November 6th, 2006 at 11:48 AM.
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  #92  
Old November 6th, 2006, 11:43 AM
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Hey sinjin, I'm curious, did you go to the western district transportation conference that happened at the Royal Hawaiian back at the end of June?
I did not. I've had my hands full with the new baby but probably wouldn't have gone even without her arrival. As I have never resided in the State of Hawaii I only follow transportation issues there casually. I would be uncomfortable offering specific suggestions unless I was more familiar with traffic patterns on Oahu. I have used public rail in many foreign cities though and feel that they are a must if you intend to maintain quality of life while densifying.

I would love to see a high speed rail service betwee Hilo and Kona but doubt there's enough passengers to justifying the cost unless Hilo takes the initiative to attract day trippers from Kona side resorts.
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Last edited by sinjin; November 6th, 2006 at 11:52 AM.
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  #93  
Old November 6th, 2006, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
That's be biggest worry. Who's gong to ride this thing? I live and work near downtown. I won't be riding it.

Even if I moved out of downtown, I'd still be taking my car. I need a car to visit customers. My employer pays the parking stall, so I don't care what it costs to park downtown. Short of a careerer change, I can't see myself on mass transit. But if I'm paying or it, I dang well want to make sure it's getting used!

So what's it going to take to get the average commuter on mass transit and not just those who can't afford to drive?
The financial aspect of getting and from work obviously is the greatest incentive to get people out of single rider cars and onto mass transit. As areas become more congested and business owners reduce perks (i.e., free parking for employees), more people will be competing for free street parking. As municipalities decrease the amount of onstreet parking (or install meters which restrict the amount of time you can park) and more new buildings are built with fewer parking spaces, eventually more people will move to mass transit rather than having to circle the city blocks looking for an available space. In really congested city centers (like on the East Coast) having a car really is a luxury...the last 4 years I lived in Boston, I finally owned a car, but I rarely used it during the week because hopping on the T was a whole lot less hassle than navigating through the traffic was.

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  #94  
Old November 6th, 2006, 12:50 PM
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Default Re: Rail Transit

You must remember that LAND ACQUISITION costs in Hawaii are very much higher than just about anywhere else. That is why decking a Freeway can be cheaper than widening a Freeway in Hawaii.

Subtle difference. Easy to miss.
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  #95  
Old November 6th, 2006, 01:30 PM
joshuatree joshuatree is offline
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Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
That's be biggest worry. Who's gong to ride this thing? I live and work near downtown. I won't be riding it.

Even if I moved out of downtown, I'd still be taking my car. I need a car to visit customers. My employer pays the parking stall, so I don't care what it costs to park downtown. Short of a careerer change, I can't see myself on mass transit. But if I'm paying or it, I dang well want to make sure it's getting used!

So what's it going to take to get the average commuter on mass transit and not just those who can't afford to drive?
In your case, if you need to use your car specifically as part of your job, that's a different case. That's like trying to tell a cab driver to take mass transit and not his cab to do his job.

But for the average commuter that doesn't use a car during work hours, there are many things that can be done to get them to switch over, some passive and some subtle, some more aggressive.

1) Make rail run efficiently and timely. Then make all bus routes spreading out from rail stations run quickly and timely too. Make sure the bus routes cover deeper into residential areas than they do now.

2) Gov't needs to eliminate all parking subsidies to its employees. Instead, hand out bus/rail passes to them. With the way downtown parking rates are, it'll just be a matter of time before people will try bus/rail.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.
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  #96  
Old November 6th, 2006, 01:40 PM
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Default Re: Rail Transit

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Originally Posted by timkona View Post
You must remember that LAND ACQUISITION costs in Hawaii are very much higher than just about anywhere else. That is why decking a Freeway can be cheaper than widening a Freeway in Hawaii.

Subtle difference. Easy to miss.
I'm still unconvinced. Unless multimillion dollar estates adjoin every mile of the route on both sides. We've got some pricey real estate here as well but knocking homes down is still cheaper than miles of viaduct. Did I mention this is my field?
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  #97  
Old November 6th, 2006, 04:18 PM
Bard Bard is offline
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I did not. I've had my hands full with the new baby but probably wouldn't have gone even without her arrival. As I have never resided in the State of Hawaii I only follow transportation issues there casually.
Whoops, didn't notice your location tag. My wife was there to present a paper for work/school. I didn't go (my job is in transportation too, but the 'roads' are several thousand feet higher up ) but the people I met from it were really nice.

Quote:
I would love to see a high speed rail service betwee Hilo and Kona but doubt there's enough passengers to justifying the cost unless Hilo takes the initiative to attract day trippers from Kona side resorts.
That'd rock my socks off. You could also attract Hilo residents taking day trips to Kona, I'd think. Like someone said, if you can't make rail work on an island you can't make it work anywhere. I suspect that as gas prices and other energy pressures continue to rise, there's going to be more and more of this type of stuff in Hawai`i.
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  #98  
Old November 6th, 2006, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by GeckoGeek View Post
Using the grid as a battery has it's limits. Secondly, you're talking about the same HECO that had a 12+ hour black out when 12% if their generation suddenly went off line. Think they can handle a sudden cloud?
i like the idea of using solar electric, but since people are stealling copper wire, what would prevent them from stealing solar panels?
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  #99  
Old November 6th, 2006, 05:39 PM
joshuatree joshuatree is offline
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i like the idea of using solar electric, but since people are stealling copper wire, what would prevent them from stealing solar panels?
Well since it is an elevated railway, it should be off limits to non staff. I wasn't talking about installing solar panels at the stations themselves, but rather along the sides of the concrete path that the rails sit on. So that should be safe from thieves unless they are so sophisticated that they have their own bucket loader truck and pretend to be a construction crew or something.

As for the earlier statement of whether HECO can handle it or not, well, nothing beats trial by fire. If you don't put a fire to their feet, I don't think they will strive to make their system more reliable. I rather see something like the rail trigger a few man-made power outages to push HECO rather than some natural disaster that could really put people in jeopardy.
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Old November 6th, 2006, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuatree View Post
I wasn't talking about installing solar panels at the stations themselves, but rather along the sides of the concrete path that the rails sit on. So that should be safe from thieves unless they are so sophisticated that they have their own bucket loader truck and pretend to be a construction crew or something.
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.
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