Posted by: loomisisc | August 29, 2010

Go Waipio!

All of us at Honolulu Rail for Growth are rooting for you, Waipio! From national champions to world champions tomorrow! Aloha!

Posted by: loomisisc | August 26, 2010

Oahu Growth Management

We hear talk on how overpopulation is a growing concern globally.  But Oahu’s concern is on growth management on the crowded Leeward side.  Gordon M. Arakaki offers a thoughtful statement in the Star-Advertiser on how rail can help alleviate this dilemma.

Honolulu Rail for Growth, the hui led by Sumitomo Corporation of America, plans to partner with Kapolei High School, Waipahu High School and Farrington High School.  HRFG will collaborate in developing introductory programs preparing students for careers in rail.  HRFG will recruit and hire willing and qualified students for long-term jobs created by the Honolulu High Capacity Transit Corridor project, including railcar assembly, transit system operations and maintenance.

Posted by: loomisisc | July 21, 2010

Hannemann Resigns, Leading Mayoral Hopefuls for Rail

Now that It’s official: Hannemann resigns as mayor to run for governor, said the Pacific Business News headline, Honolulu rail advocates look forward to September’s mayoral race. The article said,

“Upon Hannemann’s resignation, City Managing Director Kirk Caldwell became Acting Mayor, pending a special election in which voters will chose a mayor to serve the two remaining years of Hannemann’s term.”

Today, the Star Advertiser reported,

“The City Council is scheduled to meet Thursday to set the date for a special election and the requisite filing deadline for candidates.”

In addition to Caldwell, others seeking to fill the two-year vacancy are city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, City Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz, University of Hawaii engineering professor Panos Prevedouros and City Councilman Rod Tam.”

Civil Beat helps put things into perspective with this background on the race. They report,

“A January poll conducted by KITV 4 and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin showed Carlisle was the leader of the race with 67 percent of the vote. The other three candidates included in the poll were Dela Cruz who earned 18 percent, Caldwell with 11 percent and Tam with 10 percent.”

The three leading candidates are all pro-rail.

“I think rail is what will define the candidates,” said mayoral candidate and Honolulu Council Member Donovan Dela Cruz in the aptly titled report by Adrienne LaFrance, Rail Likely to Drive Another Mayoral Election. Dan Boylan also featured DelaCruz in this week’s Midweek, which comes online tomorrow. Boylan wrote,

Caldwell wrote Rail is a Game Changer for the Construction Industry for Building Industry last fall, showing his support of the project in addition to service as Managing Director dealing with the project first-hand.

Recently, Carpenters endorse Carlisle for Honolulu mayor in a Hawaii News Now report by Ben Gutierrez quoting Union chief Ron Taketa having said Carlisle “is a staunch supporter of the planned rail system. He is fully committed to getting it built — from start to finish.”

The upcoming race will be exciting, but if the media coverage and polls tell the public anything, it is that the Honolulu rail project will benefit.

Posted by: loomisisc | July 17, 2010

Hawaiian Tramways, 1888

Found in Waikiki postcard rack:

Gino Antoniello, the lead executive of Honolulu Rail For Growth, attended the HIPA Infrastructure Summit on Tuesday and spoke with John Temple and Adrienne LaFance of Civil Beat, on the  benefits of the Honolulu Rail Project.

Antoniello, who also serves as Vice President of Transportation Systems and Equipment for Sumitomo Corporation of America, was subsequently featured in two Civil Beat reports today:

Honolulu Rail – The View from a Contractor

Honolulu has Nation’s “Premier” Rail Project

Civil Beat, the only media outlet to cover the HIPA Summit thus far, saw their coverage gain traction online throughout today. In the afternoon, the SayYes2Rail blog post lead with Antoniello’s interview in particular:

We’ll Later Ask, ‘How Did We Ever Live Without It?’ So Says Rail Expert with World of Experience

Later, Mayor Mufi Hannemann posted this to his twitter page:

“Civil Beat had a great article today: “Honolulu Has Nation’s ‘Premier’ Rail Project.” Give it a read: http://j.mp/cwd8gs #becivil”

Then at the end of the workday, the city’s communication office sent out the following press release,  HONOLULU RAIL CALLED NATION’S ‘PREMIER TRANSIT PROJECT’

that specifically cited the articles Civil Beat articles covering the HIPA Summit and featuring Antoniello. It read,

Oberstar, a key figure in determining federal funding for transportation projects, made the comment during an infrastructure summit in Honolulu via videoconference from Washington, DC. His remarks were reported by an online Honolulu news outlet, Civil Beat.”



Posted by: loomisisc | July 12, 2010

Wasa Electric Among Top 25 Hawaii Contractors

In this month’s issue of Building Industry Hawaii, Honolulu Rail For Growth partner, Wasa Electrical Services, Inc. is featured as one of the top 25 contractors in Hawaii.  When asked about the future of Hawaii’s economy, Wasa CEO Ron Yee said,

“We believe the economy will continue on the path to recovery by early 2012 as we are seeing nationwide. The Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project alone promises to be a real shot in the arm for the state economy, both in terms of direct job creation and indirect or related transit-oriented development. By my estimate, I would expect the creation of a thousand or more jobs for the construction sector alone. Later on down the line, property values near the stations will increase spurring transit-oriented development, which will create additional construction jobs and a variety of business opportunities along the rail route.”

For the rest of the BIH feature click here.

Posted by: loomisisc | July 10, 2010

Rail Riders Loose Weight, Drivers Eat Fast Food

This week, the SayYes2Rail blog beat Hawaii News Now to the punch on a recent HealthToday survey that found a typical rail transit commuter lost an average of nearly 6.5 pounds over 12 to 18 months from to walking to and from transit stations.While this research supports the slimming effects of using rail transit, automobiles have been responsible for the popularity of (not-so-slimming) fast food dining in the U.S.

In Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, he chronicles the emergence of Carl N. Karcher, one of America’s fast food pioneers, who began his empire with a hot-dog cart near a Goodyear Tire Factory.

Later in the 1940’s, Karcher opened “Carl Jr.’s,” a self-service restaurant inspired by the McDonald Brothers Speedee Service System, which brought customers into a highly efficient restaurant. During this period, Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway Act brought even more people to eat in self-service restaurants, and ultimately lead to the gold star of Carl’s Jr. popping up throughout California.

Schlosser wrote, “The fast food industry took root alongside that Interstate highway system, as a new form of restaurant sprang up beside the new off-ramps.”

So instead of building more roadways and high-cholesterol pit stops, lets look forward to rail stations with healthy local food will lead to a fitter, healthier Oahu.

Posted by: loomisisc | June 25, 2010

Real Interest for Neighbor Isle Rail Transit

Timothy Wright from Pahoa wrote a letter entitled, Build railway here, published in the Hawaii Tribune Herald today, showing another example of neighbor island interest in rail transit for locals and tourists.

Wright wrote, “Being from the Big Island, a rail system from Hilo to Kona would work since most jobs are in Kona and not Hilo. A rail system here on the Big Island could send tourists from point A to point B in less time than driving,”

In the Maui News on March 18th, and reposted on Reality Rail, HCR 101, A nonbinding resolution that would call for Maui County to study the creation of a light-rail system, was introduced in the state House of Representatives.

HCR 101 says the county should take steps to plan for a transit system before extensive development blocks off land that could be used for rail routes. Proponents say the rail transit proposal on Oahu is a good example of the problems that can be encountered when a region is already overdeveloped.

“The one thing that keeps coming up is that (Honolulu) should have done this when (former Mayor Frank) Fasi pitched the idea in the 1960s,” said West Maui Rep. Angus McKelvey, who is the principal author of the bill. “My thinking is, let’s get the conversation going on Maui now.”

Hawaii News Now’s Resident Explainer and Business Reporter, Howard Dicus, recommended neighbor island rail in this entry of his blog, also posted in March. He wrote,

“We should acquire transportation corridors today for rail that will be built tomorrow on neighbor islands, which will bring speculators to those corridors but lessen pressure everywhere else. Everybody should stare at a map of their favorite part of the islands and figure out what can be done now to control the future before there is a powerful interest in the opposite corner staring at the same map with visions of timeshares dancing in their heads.”

Plagued with the state’s worst automotive traffic, we’re thankfully the furthest along on Oahu for breaking ground on rail transit as seen in yesterday’s contract award. Though on several islands, benefiting both locals and tourists, railways are becoming a desired and sensible solution to current and future problems with island transportation.

Click image to watch the episode

Friday June 11. Dave Letterman announces apropos of nothing that “model railroads are America’s number one hobby.”  Maybe he’s tuned to the renaissance of rail too? Or maybe he’s just heard about Honolulu’s commitment to rail.

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