MYTH: Building the rail project at street level instead of elevated from Middle Street to Ala Moana Center will be cheaper and done sooner.
FACT: Numerous studies on Honolulu’s rail project have all reached the same conclusion: at-grade light rail cannot deliver fast, frequent, safe, and reliable transit service for Oahu. This is why the Honolulu City Council, after carefully considering all options, chose a grade-separated system. The Federal Transit Administration reviewed the city’s research and independently validated the conclusion.
In contrast, the recent Honolulu Transit Task Force (HTTF) paper advocating for an at-grade rail system does not take into account the numerous engineering studies, technical reports and reviews that support Honolulu’s grade-separated project.
Building an at-grade rail system would not be as inexpensive as the HTTF report touts. Based on an assessment of construction costs of new at-grade systems like Phoenix, the true building cost of HTTF’s proposal is hundreds of millions of dollars more than indicated in its paper.
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