Former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano is urging President Donald Trump to stop more federal dollars from going to Honolulu’s rail transit project. “Honolulu’s rail project does not deserve a dollar more from the federal government,” the ad states. “It has become a poster boy for how politics, incompetence, disinformation and outright lies are at the root of wasteful rail projects which do little for the public except raise taxes.”
The project is sucking up enormous amounts of tax money that could be used to help solve problems that are far more pressing for Honolulu residents, such education and housing. Cayetano said cutting $800 million from the FTA money would not necessarily kill the rail project, but instead force the city to scale back the line and consider cheaper alternatives. The project could stop at Middle Street, for example, and use a bus rapid transit system to transport passengers into town, Cayetano said. Emerging technology such as self-driving cars soon will make light train lines obsolete, he argued.
“Community college could be free,” he said, citing the opportunity costs associated with funneling $10 billion toward the train. “With a billion dollars, you could have a five-year plan to build affordable rentals.”
At the end of the letter to Donald Trump, Ben Cayetano states “The rail project plans include seven massive elevated rail stations 50-60 feet high and the 35 foot high elevated rail line through the heart of downtown Honolulu,” the ad states. “If built, this will change the beauty and ambience of the city forever.”