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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                October 30, 2006  

Release No. M-109-06







            Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced today that a study to determine Honolulu's best transit alternative has been completed ahead of schedule and delivered to the Honolulu City Council.  The Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project team did the study, called the Alternatives Analysis (AA), under the direction of the City and County of Honolulu's Department of Transportation Services.


            For more than a year, the project team evaluated four options intended to improve the mobility, reliability and equity of Honolulu's transportation system in the fastest-growing corridor on Oahu, which runs from Kapolei to the University of Hawaii at Manoa and contains the majority of population, housing and employment on Oahu.  Over the next 25 years, Oahu's population is expected to grow by 250,000, with the majority of people living and working within that corridor.


            The analysis report evaluates the alternatives based on cost, ridership, environmental and social impacts and potential to slow the growth of traffic congestion.  The four alternatives studied were:


  • No Build   Includes building new highway facilities and committed transportation projects scheduled to be operational by 2030.  The No Build option also maintains the current service quality of Honolulu's bus system.


  • Transportation System Management Improve the bus system, expand the zipper lane hours of operation and make some capital improvements to roadways to give priority to buses.


  • Managed Lane Build a two-lane highway viaduct as a toll road.  The two-lane, grade-separated facility would be constructed between Waipahu and downtown Honolulu.  Multi-occupant vehicles would have priority, with excess capacity sold at variable toll costs to multi- and single-occupant vehicles.


  • Fixed Guideway Construct and operate  a fixed guideway transit system.  The Alternatives Analysis contains a recommendation on mode and alignment, but does not specify a technology.  Two possible alignments are included: (a) a 20-mile alignment that would run from Kapolei to Ala Moana Shopping Center and (b) a 28-mile alignment going from Kapolei to the University of Hawaii at Manoa.


            Each of the alternatives includes the projects in the No Build option.  Those projects will cost more than $3 billion.


            Excluding that $3 billion, costs for the alternatives are estimated as follows (in 2006 dollars):


  • No Build $700 million in bus replacement costs;
  • TSM $900 million in bus replacement and system expansion costs;
  • Managed Lane $1 billion in bus replacement and system expansion, $2.5 billion for construction;
  • Fixed Guideway $600 million in bus replacement, $3.6 billion for the 20-mile alignment or $4.6 billion for the 28-mile alignment.


            In identifying the Fixed Guideway as the best choice for Honolulu's Locally Preferred Transit Alternative, the study determined that this alternative would cause the least pollution, consume the least energy, result in the highest increase in transit riders and have the greatest potential to slow the growth rate of traffic congestion.


            Mayor Mufi Hannemann said, "I know that the people of Oahu want traffic relief NOW, and they want more options for moving about our island. This study shows what I've been saying all along, that a fixed guideway represents our best and perhaps last chance to deal with traffic congestion and make a positive, dramatic improvement in the lives of Honolulu residents who are wasting far too much of their productive time stuck in traffic.


            "I'm committed to moving this project forward and am hopeful that working together with the Honolulu City Council and the community, we can achieve the vision of making Honolulu the best place to live, work, play and raise our families.  Traffic congestion is eroding our quality of life and I urge the City Council to move quickly so that we can work together to create traffic solutions."


            The AA now goes to the Honolulu City Council for deliberations as prescribed in Resolution 05-377, CD1, which this Council unanimously adopted last year and which urges the administration to complete the Alternatives Analysis by November 1 "so that the Council may select the locally preferred alternative by December 31, 2006."

            To meet the requirements of the Federal Transit Administration, a locally preferred alternative must specify not only the mode of transit in this case rail but also the route.


            Hannemann said, "If the Council follows through and makes a timely decision, it is my goal to break ground in 2009 and have an initial segment in operation by 2012. By 2020, 14 years from now, people will at the very least be able to ride rail from Kapolei into downtown and beyond."


            The mayor added, "Fourteen years ago, the City Council, on a 5-4 vote, rejected a rail transit system that would have been built in the same corridor that we're looking at today. In so doing, it turned away more than $600 million in federal funds for the project.

            "Back in 1992, after the Council's rejection of the rail project, then-Governor John Waihee said, 'I had hoped they had the vision and political toughness to make the right decision for the long-range future of all our citizens. Honolulu and the island of Oahu cannot afford more Band-Aid solutions to increasing traffic congestion and gridlock.'


            "That was 14 years ago," Hannemann said. "Fourteen years from now, I want people to say we had the courage and the will in 2006 to do the right thing for our families and future generations."


            In addition to the AA, the Mayor released a DVD that focuses on the AA and its findings.   If you would like a copy of the AA or the DVD, or for more information, please visit or call 566-2299.  Both the report and the DVD will be available on the website by November 6, 2006.





Media contacts:

            Bill Brennan, 527-6928

            Mark Matsunaga, 527-5767


Monday, October 30, 2006

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