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August 2006

Editor's Message - Federal Income Tax Cuts (Pearl Johnson)
Millionaire Tax Breaks
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Aviva Aron-Dine & Joel Friedman)
Affordable Shelter (Jackie Parnell)
Global Warming
Mayor Wants Rail (Charles Carole & Pearl Johnson)
Light Rail Costs in Comparison to Population Size
Voter Service (Arlene Ellis)

Mayor Wants Rail

Mayor Mufi Hannemann wants rail transit for Honolulu. This became clear at the June 26 meeting on the Honolulu High-Capacity Corridor Project. He dismissed the Managed Lanes Alternative, also called High-Occupancy-Toll (HOT) lanes, as falling within the State's jurisdiction. He thinks the State should pay for HOT lanes.

The Mayor wants rail so much, he says the City will go ahead with construction in 2009, using City funds if necessary. He says this may be necessary in order to prove to the Federal government that Honolulu really wants rail transit.

Based on recent history, Federal subsidies for any transit system seem to be limited to $500 million. Although the mayor says rail transit will cost $3 billion (6 times as much as the maximum we can expect from Washington), most observers expect the cost to be over $4 billion.

Oahu's population is 980,000. Even at the City's estimate of $3 billion, the per capita cost of the rail system would be over $3,000. Of the recently built systems, Portland's per capita cost was the highest at $725. Salt Lake City's population is closest to Oahu's at 1.3 million. The cost was $282 per capita, or less than one-tenth of ours.

Charles Carole and Pearl Johnson
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