April 2010 Home   Newsletters

July 2010

State Council to be held August 14, 2010
Focus for Council - LWV-HI Goals and Objectives (Sue Irvine)
Legalized Gambling: A State or County Issue? (Sue Dursin)
League of Women Voters of Hawaii Goals and Objectives
Hawaii State Ethics Commission Courts Unwelcome Attention (Jean Aoki)
Phoenix Rail System Cuts Back on Service (Honolulu News) (Pearl Johnson)
Local Leader & League Member Recognized by Foundation
Applauding LWV-US for Another Successful Convention
National LWV Elects New President
Agriculture Group Will Focus on Regulations
LWV-Hawaii Proposed Budget 2010-2011
LWV of Honolulu Ed Fund Seeks Nominees (Robin Loomis)
Mahalo Honolulu Contributors
We're Cleaning Out

Honolulu News

Phoenix Rail System Cuts Back on Service

Geoffrey Paterson, emeritus member of American Institute of Architects, recently returned from Phoenix, which has a 20-mile rail transit system. Here is a quote from the Summer 2010 edition of the official newsletter of Valley Metro:

"On July 26th METRO light rail will undergo changes to service due to a substantial decrease in sales tax collections which provide the funds necessary to operate service...the Valley Metro Rail Board of Directors approved a decision to operate weekday service every twelve minutes instead of every ten minutes from 7;30 a.m. to 6:30 pm. All other hours will operate twenty minute service... Another change to service will be the addition of all holidays running on a Sunday schedule."

Says Mr. Paterson, “You can see that Phoenix is having financial problems with their at-grade rail system.  Since they do not even have the huge train stations with elevators and escalators with high maintenance, utilities and security, then Honolulu will be in REAL trouble if we continue to pursue this outdated overpriced rail system.

The daily ridership is about 40,000 which is about one third of the ridership projected for Honolulu.  The Phoenix system was built for 1.4 billion dollars for a twenty mile system with the Feds paying almost half its cost and the stations are little more than bus shelters with a ticket dispensing machine.  Twenty percent of ridership is students but of course our train does not even go to U of H.

The train is very popular with bicyclists who can wheel their bikes right onto the train, something that will not be possible on the Honolulu train. The trains during the day travel with approximately just thirty percent of the seating being occupied..  

“If Phoenix with a population four times that of Honolulu and a train system that cost one quarter of our projected cost still cannot make it financially then it is apparent that we are on a collision course for a financial and aesthetic disaster. 

After flying in to Los Angeles, Denver and Phoenix on this trip and looking down on many miles on each side of the aircraft of dense development reaching to the horizon, and then flying into Honolulu with a narrow strip of land between our mountains and the sea reminded me of returning to a village; not exactly a location for a potential "high capacity" metro rail system that is being forced upon us.”

The population of the Phoenix metropolitan area in 2008 was 4.3 million. Oahu’s population, including the North Shore, the Windward areas and Waianae, was 904,000. The projected cost of Honolulu’s rail system is over $5 billion. Phoenix’s rail system cost $1.5 billion.

Pearl Johnson

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