Posted by: loomisisc | January 27, 2011

“Rail will drive down my blood pressure.”

Jim Loomis, NARP’s Council Representative-Hawaii (right) thanks Gino Antoniello, Sumitomo VP – Transportation Systems and Equipment for his insights into the Honolulu mass transit project.

That, said Honolulu attorney Carroll Taylor, is why he is a long time rail advocate and why he became a member of the Hawaii Chapter of the National Association of Rail Passengers.  Taylor was only half joking. He swears that getting on board a train will help take anyone’s blood pressure down by at least 30%. OK, that’s not a verifiable number. But you get the idea. Taylor insists getting people out of traffic jams and into trains will help get them off their blood pressure medication.

Taylor was part of a group of 25 who met last week at a luncheon sponsored by Sumitomo Corp of America.  It was the first official meeting of the Hawaii chapter of NARP that included other rail advocates and heads of educational institutions interested in the jobs rail would create for their graduates.

“No city that has committed to rail has ever asked for it to be removed,” said guest speaker, Gino Antoniello, Sumitomo’s VP-Transportations Systems and Equipment.  “Yes, there is a lot of second-guessing before the trains are built. But once those trains start running, they become an essential part of people’s lives. As a father and as a person with nearly 25 years in rail, I believe it is vital for my children’s future and for the City’s future,” he added.

Rail: An Essential Travel Option
Committed train travelers Fran Beardsley and Jim Harwood, two other long time NARP members who were at the luncheon meeting agree whole-heartedly. Both call themselves true believers. Beardsley who has lived on the island since 1968 gets around a lot by bus but she looks forward to

Rail in Honolulu could make for a faster, safer, and more productive commute for thousands of Oahu residents.

having an alternative.  Harwood says he and his wife would ride the train if the option existed.

And that said, Jim Loomis, NARP’s Council Representative-Hawaii, is why the association strongly supports Honolulu rail as part of their promotion of rail as a green travel choice that Americans want and need. NARP has 22,000 members nationwide and meets twice a year.

Sumitomo VP – Transportation Systems and Equipment, Gino Antoniello, speaks with a recent college graduate interested in career opportunities with the Honolulu rail project at the Job Quest Career Fair.

Integration into the Community
Antoniello emphasized that Sumitomo wants to approach the building and operating of trains for Honolulu in a way that truly is integrated with the community. “We want to hire and train young people and show them how they can build a career path with rail. I did it. I want to show students in colleges and schools here that they can too. It’s a fulfilling career with lots of growth opportunities. But we have to get started.”

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