by Andrew Walden
The ouster of 36-year Minnesota Democrat Rep. James Oberstar by Americans outraged at Congressional Democrats' borrow, tax, and spend policies may be the end for rail transit in Honolulu. Oberstar, the Democrats’ House Transportation Committee Chair, was Sen. Inouye’s House point man to push through $1.5B in federal funding for the $5.5B project.
Minnesota Public Radio cried: “Oberstar defeat ends era of transportation policy influence.” But Honolulu Traffic leader Cliff Slater isn’t getting all teary-eyed. He tells KGMB:
"Oberstar being gone is good news because there will be fresh eyes looking at the situation. I would like to see it stopped because all it does is give us a project that is literally worthless."
Seeking to deflect any idea that Hawaii is about to get punished for electing a 100% Democrat delegation, Governor-elect Neil Abercrombie told HNN:
"It's not a question of a Republican project will move forward and a Democratic project won't, or vice versa, it's a question of whether or not there's sufficient funds to have it move forward and whether or not there's sufficient funds to have any project move forward."
Americans just decided that question in the negative. The new Transportation Chair will probably be Rep. John Mica (R-FL). KGMB asks: “He says he's in favor of cost effective rail transportation but Republicans campaigned on cutting costs and smaller government, so where does Honolulu's $5.5 billion rail fit into that?”
For months, it has been expected that Republicans would take the House. This is why Inouye stage-managed the absurd demands by the Hannemann administration and construction unions for Governor Lingle to blindly sign an EIS blank check for Rail. Lingle’s insistence on actually doing her job allows Inouye, Hannemann, and the eager Democrat media to blame her for the failure of rail in campaign commercials during the 2012 Senate campaign.
According to Inouye, Republicans failure to borrow, tax, and spend more is driving America into third world status:
"We're supposed to be the super nation. In rail transit we're behind Mexico. If that's what they want I suppose that's what the people want."
Unlike other Hawaii media, we fact-checked Inouye’s absurd statement that the US is “behind Mexico” in rail transit. According to Subways.net, “There are currently 11 lines with 201 km and 175 stations in and around Mexico City. All lines are rubber tired except for Line A.”
In comparison, New York City has 369km of routes and 468 stations.
Monterrey, Mexico is home to one of the world’s most heavily used rail transit lines. Carrying 136M passengers in 2009 at fares of $0.45 each, the Metrorrey “is 18.5 km long, (and) runs parallel to the former 1887 Topo Chico tramline.”
TheBus just hiked its fare to $2.50. And according to a Spanish-Hawaiian dictionary, “Topo Chico tramline” means “OR&L”.
Subways.net also offers up this tidbit:
“A plan for a 31 km, 18 station Sky Train, or ECOTREN, was cancelled by the Fox administration in order to build more roads and purchase new metro rolling stock.”
Inouye’s Mexican heroes prioritize road construction over rail, they do not limit themselves to steel-on-steel, and they use existing railroad right of way. They reject everything that Inouye and Hannemann insisted upon.
Can America outdo Mexico by borrowing money from China to build a $5.5B system to enrich Hawaii Democrat developers and landowners and shuttle Democrat government employees to their Democrat union dues paying make-work jobs at Inouye’s pork-barrel projects in downtown Honolulu?
Likely neither Hirono nor Hanabusa will place herself in a position to be held responsible for the collapse of rail by seeking a minority Transportation Committee seat in the upcoming Congress.