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Thursday, January 20, 2011
Analysis: Hanabusa’s glorious DC MetroRail would leave Rida Cabanilla stuck in traffic
By Andrew Walden @ 10:51 PM :: 9684 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

by Andrew Walden

Speaking to Politico, January 19, Rep Colleen Hanabusa (D-KoOlina) touts the experience of commuting on the DC Metro:

The Metro system here is most impressive. Anyone who argues against the virtues of public rail should come to D.C. and experience a well-planned mass transit system. It makes my commute to Capitol Hill easy — as I reflect on the thousands of Oahu drivers stuck in daily gridlock. Honolulu has its own rail project planned, and we are about to break ground in partnership with the Federal Transit Administration. It is a system sorely needed — and long overdue.

But what about cars?  The argument that building rail in Honolulu would vastly improve Honolulu’s automobile traffic situation is a cornerstone of the case for rail.  For instance Rep Rida Cabanilla last October told the audience at a candidates’ forum: “You ride the rail so I can drive my car.”  

In DC, 106 miles of subways have been built--how do the regal V-8 carriages of Cabanilla's DC bretheren fare now that the the peasants have been removed from underfoot? 

Not very well according to the just-released 2010 Urban Mobility report by The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the University Transportation Center for Mobility. According to TTI, Washington, DC scored worst in the nation among “Very Large Urban Areas—over 3 million population”.  DC drivers stuck in traffic wasted 70 hours per year above and beyond normal commuting times.  DC drivers burned an average of 57 extra gallons of fuel and wasted $1555 per year in costs associated with congestion.

Honolulu, by comparison has zero miles of commuter rail and was 31st among “Medium Urban Areas—over 500,000 and less than 1 million population”.  Honolulu drivers waste only 31 hours per year, burn only 26 gallons idling in traffic jams and waste only $709 in congestion-related costs.

Here are the numbers:

Urban Area                Yrly Delay         Travel Time Index     Xcess Fuel per Auto            Congestion Cost per Auto

                                  Hours    Rank        Value  Rank           Gallons   Rank                          Dollars    Rank

Washington DC-VA-MD      70        1              1.30     2                   57       1                                $1,555        2

Honolulu HI                       31      31              1.18   25                   26     30                                   $709      32



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