Rich, you'll enjoy this local editorial holding up Tampa as the model for Honolulu to follow
. How's this tollway working out for you guys?
Oahu has just piggybacked the state excise tax from 4 to 4.5% (over 12%!) to fund the development of a light-rail system estimated to cost (at least) $4B. As the proud possessor of the nation's most expensive highway (H-3 cost over a billion dollars a mile), this new taxpayer spending goal is seen as easily beatable.
Ironically Hawaii already has an affordable mass-transit commuter system known as "Da Bus". The problem is its schedules depend on funding and that depends on ridership. The fewer riders, the less funding, the fewer buses that run on the streets. This death spiral has continued for much of a decade to the point that just about the only people who ride the bus are the ones who lack alternate transportation choices. If buses ran on all the neighborhood routes every 10 minutes for 18 hours a day the situation might be a little different, but apparently the govt is unwilling to spend money on Da Bus when they can spend it on light rail.
Aside from having the light rail ruining the commute for years of construction and the view horizon forever, there are already rumors that the system won't extend as far as it should (to major communities like Mililani & Kapolei). Note also that the $4B price tag is approx $4000 per Oahu resident. The bickering between Honolulu's mayor (Democrat) and the state's governor (one of the very few Republicans in an ocean of Democrats) has been far more expensive than the light rail promises to be.
The editorial proposes another solution in the same space as the light rail construction-- an elevated tollway above H-1 & H-2. Apparently Tampa has a similar system, the "Tampa/Hillsborough Expressway Authority" that covers 10 miles around a place called "Malfunction Junction" (love that name!).
Of course the best solution would be avoiding the roads during rush hour. Spouse and I are doing our share but we feel we should see some sort of return on our new taxes. I'd rather plagiarize the heck out of emulate a successful toll-road model than experiment with a light rail system that'd be subject to the same scheduling vagaries as Da Bus.
Rich, are they having problems with Tampa's new road or is everyone happy?