October 28th, 2009 :: Permalink
Aloha Jerry ~
Excellent points ... I recently wrote a piece about the inherent lack of fairness to the islands due to our non-contiguous nature as well. I was addressing the interstate or "expressway" system.
Although tens of thousands of miles of federally-sponsored highways have been built on the mainland, H1, H2 and H3 add up to only 51 miles. Puerto Rico, not even an official U.S. state, has received five times this amount in federal support.
What is the significance of my rant? What if we could get the RAIL project designated as a federal "expressway"? As we're now in the 21st century, we think of public transportation somewhat differently than when Eisenhower first drafted our national highway system.
With some creative leadership, Hawai'i could make up for some lost ground and secure vital federal transportation funding. The rail project has an estimated price tag of about $5.5 billion. If this system became H4, the federal government would pick up approximately 90% of the cost, leaving about $550 million for local residents to shoulder.
This would be a game changer. Nobody disagrees about the necessity of modernized transportation on O'ahu or the importance of the jobs; concerns rest solely on the cost. As you wrote, "That won't link us with the rest of the nation, but it would be something."