Honolulu City and County of Honolulu officials estimate that a proposed $5.3 billion elevated rail project will create an average of 10,000 jobs a year.

Mayoral candidate Panos Prevedouros, updating his 2008 anti-rail platform for 2010, says the numbers will be much lower. In a nutshell, the header to his April 14 blog post is “Proposed Rail Creates 1,000 Local Jobs and Destroys 4,000 jobs.”

Meanwhile, a story by Sean Hao in The Honolulu Advertiser in March put the job creation estimates at 350 this year and 2,000 in peak construction years calculations.

Local economist Paul Brewbaker said the job estimates depend on the model used, as well as whether they had been adjusted to reflect current economic conditions.

I’m trying to sort through the projections so people can have an accurate picture of how many jobs will be created by the project. Some — including the mayor himself — have argued that the rail system is a jobs program. Others say it won’t create enough jobs to justify the price tag. So jobs are at the heart of this debate. But the numbers aren’t clear. There are a number of comparable places to look, but I’d welcome any suggestions.

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