Hawaii

Federal Government to Spend $1.5 Billion on Hawaii Rail Project Currently in Litigation

The feds don't ask why, they ask why not

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will it include the cost of planting palm trees?

Fiscal cliff? What fiscal cliff? America's most senior senator, Daniel Inouye, just scored $1.5 billion for a high-speed rail project in his home state of Hawaii. He's happy the funding was secured before his retirement, because, he says, it's been talked about most of the time he's been in Congress. The project's billed to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in Oahu, serious stuff for Washington. But it's not as simple as that. The project has faced opposition at home in Hawaii, with the Hawaii Supreme Court ruling the city of Oahu broke state laws in moving the project forward and a federal judge setting a hearing for December in another lawsuit, as reported by the Hawaii Reporter, which notes:

Cliff Slater, one of Hawaii's leading transportation experts and one of seven plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit against the rail project, said… "Senator Inouye's press release congratulated everyone involved in helping 'build a system that will alleviate traffic congestion, lessen our dependence on imported fossil fuels.'

"The only problem with those two elements of the statement is that neither one of them is true. The rail project would do little to relieve traffic congestion and rail will use twice as much energy per passenger mile than TheBus. As the City itself has written, "traffic congestion in the future with rail will be worse than it is today."

Preventing "deeply destructive" [non] cuts from happening's next on Washington's agenda.