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Honolulu Transit details emerging

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Transit details emerging

City planners have produced a computer simulation of what new mass transit options could look like. They expect to disclose detailed cost and ridership estimates later this month.

Halfway through the study that will chart the path for Honolulu's transit future, engineers plan to tell the public

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Things are looking good so far and the future mass transit seems to be passing a lot of hurdles!

Here's an update!

City gives early look at Honolulu mass transit

Source: Honolulu Advertiser

The city today released the first look at what a new rail line in Honolulu might look like and said the public will be asked to help determine the best system based on relative costs, ridership and other factors.

Without using specific figures, city officials said ridership for the new system would likely be highest in urban Honolulu and construction costs would be most significant in the outlying areas between Kapolei and Aloha Stadium.

However, the city's chief engineer, Toru Hamayasu, said he is encouraged by projections that show the costs for putting much of the system underground through downtown Honolulu are lower than expected.

New technology makes the cost of tunneling a transit line underground lower than they were the last time a similar system was considered 15 years ago in Honolulu, Hamayasu said.

The figures released today do not include the option of building a "managed lane" tollway traffic system. Hamayasu said the city is still studying that possibility and expects to have details ready by next month.

What's next

At community meetings starting Saturday, city officials will release more information on various transit alternatives, including comparisons of the cost and potential ridership for various segments of the fixed-rail proposals and computer simulations of how they would look.

For more information about the project please click on this link-> Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project

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Here's another update!

Rail transit system cost estimate: $3 billion

Source: Honolulu Advertiser

To pass above H-1 Freeway at University Avenue, the rail structure would be elevated as much as 60 feet, according to city officials.

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A new rail transit system from Kapolei to Manoa would cost more than $3 billion to build and attract between 120,000 and 150,000 riders a day by the year 2030, city officials said yesterday.

The new cost estimate is at least $200 million more than previous estimates, but Mayor Mufi Hannemann said that does not necessarily mean more taxes will be needed, citing the possibility of public-private partnerships.

The early projections show the costliest section of the 24-mile system would be in outlying areas between Kapolei and Aloha Stadium. Heaviest ridership would be in urban Honolulu.

Also yesterday, the city released its first drawings of what the elevated portions of the line might look like. In most cases, the rail structure would be about 30 feet above ground, but in at least one location

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More updates:

Rail plan cuts $4B cost, routes

The mayor's office has a proposal that would shorten projected transit lines

Source: Star Bulletin

Mayor Mufi Hannemann's administration is looking at a shorter rail transit route to reduce a projected $4 billion cost, according to members of the City Council who have been briefed on the proposal.

Originally, the route was proposed to be 23 miles long and run from west of Kapolei town to the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus with a possible spur to Waikiki.

To save money, the start and the end of the route would change. Instead of beginning in Kapolei, the route would possibly start farther east at either the site of the proposed UH-West Oahu campus, which is just east of Kapolei town and along the future North-South Road, or at Leeward Community College.

The shortened route would end at downtown Honolulu, deleting the UH-Manoa and Waikiki ends.

Members of Mayor Mufi Hannemann's administration were not available to comment.

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Councilmembers, however, cautioned that the exact route could change depending on the cost.

"As I understand what they're saying, they're looking at different points of what would make sense within the potential financial constraint," said Councilman Todd Apo, whose district includes Kapolei. "How far you get on the other end would depend on where you start. Different areas of that line are going to have different costs."

The City Council is slated to choose by the end of the year a mass-transit system from rail, dedicated toll lanes, an enhanced bus system or deciding to build nothing.

Administration officials have been briefing City Council members on the idea, which is getting mixed reactions so far.

Councilman Gary Okino said that if the route begins at the UH-West Oahu campus, he believes the rail line will still work.

"They figured that's a good segment because people have to come to (downtown), and it's close enough so people from Kapolei can get onto the system," Okino said. "I think it looks very good."

Okino said that the traffic jam caused by this week's freeway accident showed there is a need for rail.

"(The mayor) wants to show that he's serious about this no-frills just to get this thing done and to get something that works efficiently so people can really see the value. That seems to be what he wants to do," Okino said.

Other councilmembers expressed concerns, including what impact a shorter line will have on ridership.

"I was startled that the people who are doing the alternatives analysis (study) are looking at a $3 billion cap on spending rather than a system that will work for Oahu," Councilwoman Barbara Marshall said.

Councilman Charles Djou, who along with Marshall opposed the transit tax, said he gives the mayor credit for trying to control costs.

"I think that's a great thing in trying to hold down costs," said Djou, who represents Waikiki. "Obviously the concern here is that if the rail does not go out and connect UH, with all of the college students, and Waikiki, a major employment area of the state, and the west side with all of its growing communities, does that make sense?"

Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, Budget Committee chairwoman, said she was to be briefed by the administration today, but if officials are looking at a shorter route, she has many questions.

"Is it worth it to put in all the tracks and infrastructure for such a short route?" said Kobayashi, whose district includes Manoa. "What are we doing? Is it worth it if we're putting it in for just a few miles?"

Apo said that he is concerned about what it would mean for population growth and development on Oahu if the line did not extend as far west as possible, where growth is intended to go.

"If we're going to do something, this big bottom line, we have to do it right. If that means we need to find a way to fund more than where the numbers are falling right now ... then that's what we need to do," he said.

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City's rail ridership forecast released

Source: Honolulu Advertiser

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The latest projections show that by 2030 a rail transit line could ease traffic congestion by 10 percent overall

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