Honolulu Rail System Will Offer Relief to Traffic Woes, Wallets

Erik Guerra, Reporter

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is a 10 member board governed by the Department of Transportation, the City Department of transportation director, and six volunteers from the community; three are decided by the mayor and three by the City Council. They have the responsibility for planning, building, handling, preventing, and enlarging the city’s guideway system.

Many are frustrated with the new railroad track being built, but many also believe the rail is necessary. Little do the rail’s critics know, but this is going to make a monumental change for Hawaii residents who are stuck in traffic every day between Kapolei and Pearl City.

Companies are starting to build more houses on the west side of the island which is bringing more cars and traffic making its way into town. This rail will alleviate traffic by encouraging drivers to ride the train, therefore making the traffic now die out.

This new train station is going to help stop the horrible traffic, the train will go straight pass all the traffic with no lights getting in its way unlike driving where there are multiple lights which is the cause of the traffic. This train may not be noticed right when it is done, but some people may try it out to see how it is and then tell others how it was and tell them to go try riding it.

According to the average gas price in Hawaii, it was $3.77 per gallon in August, which is just 32.2 percent higher than the nation’s average the same month. But, for the nation, its average gas price was $2.58 per gallon in August. Riding the city bus will cost adults $2.75 for a one-way fare, so taking the train would be good for saving money as well than spending lots of money a week for gas.

The rail provides jobs which benefits the economy. 10,000 jobs were created for building, engineering, and professional services for the rail project.

Although this project is borrowing lots of money, they are using a short-term bond so that they could pay back using federal funds collected from the General Excise Tax surcharge.

In 2012, HART received $806,267,358 from the federal Full Funding Grant Agreement which was part of the $1.55 billion to pay for the construction of the rail project.

The local GET is half the percentage on the goods along with service purchased in Oahu, and this was collected since 2007, and this surcharge will continue into 2027, which will also give $4.8 million to the project.

While Oahu residents are busy waiting for the lights to turn green and waiting for the cars to move, others will be on the train not worrying about waiting for people to move out of the way.