Ben answers frequently asked questions
Will you be able to stop the rail?
Here some reasons why I will be able to stop the rail project.
- The FTA has already stated publicly it is unlikely to award rail funding to a city led by an unwilling partner (FTA meant the mayor).
- The City’s financial plan calls for HART to borrow funding through the issuance of general obligation bonds which must be approved by the mayor. By law, HART can only use revenue bonds to finance the project. I will not approve it.
- If I am elected both the FTA and the City council will take it as a mandate that the voters do not want the project. Under those circumstances, I doubt the City Council will try to override my veto to pass legislation to fund rail.
- If the City loses the lawsuits filed against rail in either the state or federal courts I will not pursue an appeal to reverse the lower court’s decision.
What about using Rail funding for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) that you propose?
The recently passed 2-year transportation act of Congress which was signed by the president contains these golden nuggets for Honolulu:
- The bill modifies the definition of Bus Rapid Transit projects to broaden the use of the program. BRT projects will now be classified and funded as “Fixed Guideway” (what HART is).
- The bill allows three Fixed Guideway BRT projects to receive at least 80 percent federal funding share each fiscal year. These provisions provide a significant opportunity for communities, like Honolulu, seeking to invest in BRT.
How fast will this rail travel in miles per hour?
It can reach a top speed of 50 mph, but its average speed is 23 to 25 mph.
How long will it take from Kapolei to town?
About 45 minutes from station to station. Today Express Bus C from Kapolei to downtown via the zipper lane is faster than the train will be in 2020.
How much will a ticket cost?
It would cost $2.50 if it was running now. Fares are scheduled rise to $3.50 (+40%) in 2017 and then to $4.24 (+21%) in 2023.
How many will it now seat?
Ansaldo has not built any rail cars for Honolulu so we do not know what the ADA compliant seating arrangement is. The seating capacity should be somewhere around 70 per rail car.
What is the total capacity? How many passengers will it support per trip?
The specified “crash load” is 650 per train. Each train has two rail cars and about 150 seats total. So in a totally full train there will be 150 seated and 500 standing passengers.
If I miss getting on, how long will I have to wait for the next rail to arrive?
6 minutes in the peak, 10 to 15 minutes in the off peak hours.
When it’s time to build in the areas that are currently occupied, how many auto lanes will be temporarily be reduced and how long will we expect to have more traffic congestion because they are using existing roadways to build?
All of the lanes in the area under stations will need to be closed during construction of the stations. There is no way to build a station the size of a football field over Farrington Hwy., Kamehameha Hwy. and Dillingham Blvd. and allow for traffic under it. Complete road closure for 4 to 6 months per station is likely.
What is your long-term solution and alternative to the gridlock that will be much worse than it is now?
Expedite the completion of the Traffic Management Center and maximize the use of installed but underutilized Intelligent Transportation Systems such as traffic cameras and advanced technology signalized intersections.
Optimize the coordination of traffic signals. Initiate and coordinate with State localized and regional highway improvements to eliminate traffic bottlenecks.
Provide in-town and regional bus rapid transit or BRT. Three sample routes are as follows:
- Kapolei, Waipahu and Mililani to downtown and Waikiki via the AM and PM zipper lanes. Today Express Bus C from Kapolei to downtown via the zipper lane is faster than the train will be in 2020.
- Aloha Stadium park-and-ride and express bus to downtown on freeway shoulders and improved N. King Street.
- College Express running mostly on King and Beretania Streets and connecting the University of Hawaii at Manoa, with Hawaii Pacific University and Honolulu Community College (and a large number of important destinations in the between such as Moiliili, Chinatown, Iwilei, etc.)