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April 9, 2007

Oahu Metropolitan Planning Agency
Ocean View Center
707 Richards Street, Suite 200
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Re: Amendment #1 Oahu Regional Transportation Plan for 2030

The League of Women Voters of Honolulu would like to offer the following comments on the proposed amendment:

There is insufficient population to support the shortened route. Eliminating Waikiki and the University of Hawaii from the eastern terminus and a large part of the Ewa plain at the western end of the project leaves a much smaller population to support the project (which was inadequate to begin with). It appears that the City is using transit as a planning tool to encourage high population densities around the transit stations. This is a laudable goal for smart growth. However, it is highly unlikely that it will be paid for by the main beneficiaries, the landowners near the stations. Instead it will be most likely be funded at the local level by the increase in GET, the most regressive possible tax that will fall heaviest on persons with the least ability to pay. And long-term future growth will not provide riders for the system when it is constructed.

The costs have escalated with no upper limit in sight. The revised Table 1 indicates that estimated costs for the first ten years have grown during the one year that the 2030 plan has been in effect even though the route has been shortened! How can this reduced segment be considered affordable?

We notice that the proposed amendment makes it clear that the Honolulu City Council approved a fixed guideway system. It did not specify rail. We hope that the City representatives on the OMPO Policy Committee will also take note of this and cease to discuss the proposed system as though rail transit were the only option.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

D. Piilani Kaopuiki, President
League of Women Voters of Honolulu

 

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