The latest news of a rail boondoggle comes from Hawaii, from a blogpost by Panos Prevedouros
on Joel Kotkin’s newgeography.com
blog. It seems the state of Hawaii wants to build a 20-mile heavy rail line on the island of Oahu that is estimated to cost something like $5.3 billion (by the city of Honolulu) or $7.2 billion (by the state of Hawaii), with the federal government kicking in something like $1.8 billion.
The whole island of Oahu has a population of 953,000, far lower than any other U.S. metropolitan area with a heavy rail transit line; 3 miles of the line’s 20 miles would be in prime agricultural land and 12 miles would be in low-density suburbia, leaving only 5 miles in high-density areas of Honolulu. And I doubt that the overhead rail design is going to diminish the claustrophobic effect of the dense high-rise Waikiki neighborhood.
Prevedouros points out that consultants’ estimates of rail transit costs and riderships tended to be wildly inaccurate, to the point of being ludicrous. This proposal sounds like lunacy, pure and simple.