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August 1990

September 1990

Political Debates to Air
President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
City Council Review Committee Meetings Scheduled with Poli-Sci Profs (Jean Aoki)
Counting Center Workers Needed
Council to Make Additional Transit Study (Astrid Monson)
City's Master Plan for Waikiki
Honolulu League Members Seek Political Office
Leasehold Condominiums (Ah Jook Ku)
We'll Participate in Recycling Survey
League of Women Voters Presents (Katherine Loew)
Welcome New Members
You Are Invited

Council to Make Additional Transit Study

Ignoring League's testimony and that of most other speakers, the City Council on July 25 approved proceeding with preliminary engineering of a 17-mile rail guideway (alternative #3) and authorized the Department of Transportation Services to send out "requests for proposals" from interested transit developers.

On August 1, however, the Council's Economic Development and Transportation Committee voted out an amended version of Council Chairman Morgado's Resolution #90-338, which called for an independent analysis to be made by an outside consultant at the same time as work proceeds on rail planning of non-rail transit measures such as dedicated bus lanes, a short grade-separated busway, connecting ferries, subscription vans, and the whole range of measures generally included in "transportation management systems" (TSM).

Res. 90-338, before being adopted by the committee, was extensively amended from its original concept, which called for formulation and study of a full-fledged non-rail alternative embodying all possible TSM measures, to Res. 90338 CD-1, which did not specify whether the purpose of the study was to develop an alternative or to find measures complementary to a rail system. The compromise was made to meet the objections of the City Administration, which claimed that all feasible TSM measures had already been studied and dismissed as alternatives to rail.

League testified on transit issues, in accordance with our consensus position, at hearings on July 10, 11, and 25 before the full Council and on July 18 and August 1 before the ED&T Committee. Throughout, we have emphasized the fact that the City's own projections in the recently published "Alternatives Analysis - Draft Environmental Impact Statement" (AA - DEIS) do not show a rail system lessening traffic congestion to any significant degree as compared with the non-rail "best bus - TSM" alternative, and that the enormous cost differential between the two could not be justified by the benefits claimed in the AA - DEIS. We also pointed out that many important non-rail possibilities had not even been included in that analysis, and strongly supported Morgado's call for an independent study not based on the premise that "we must have rail".

At the August 1 meeting, most speakers paralleled League's position. Lieutenant-Governor Ben Cayetano, speaking as an individual and as a former State legislator who had for years chaired the Transportation Committees in both houses, backed Res. #90-338 in its original form. "An independent objective evaluation of the alternatives has never been done, " he said. "Much of the debate over rail transit in the past decade has focused not on rail transit per se, but the lack of an objective analysis of the alternatives. Such a study should be done and not feared by rail proponents." A similar position was taken by Admiral Alvey Wright, for many years director of the State's Department of Transportation.

In League's testimony August 1, President Arlene Ellis pointed out that it could not be expected that a study done by agencies and/or consultants with a history of strong support for rail could or would give the Council the kinds of information it needed before having to make an irrevocable decision one way or the other. "There are a number of nationally respected transportation consultants who arc open-minded and have no financial, professional, or political ties with the rail lobby of the City," she told the Council. "This Council can find one, and we urge you to do so."

The compromise Res. #90-338 CD-1 will be before the full Council for decision August 8. It will include such items as:

  1. What the scope of the study will be;

  2. Who - the Council or the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Commission (OMPC) - will be in charge of it;

  3. How the consultant will be chosen and who will pay for the study; and

  4. What kind of advisory committee, possibly including public members, there should be.

(OMPC is composed of representatives of the City Council, the State Legislature, the Governor, and the Mayor.) League will continue to press for an independent study of as broad a scope as possible, with continuous public participation.

Astrid Monson

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