Honolulu Rail

Let’s get China’s help

The Chinese recently announced the inauguration of the Express Rail Link (bullet train) open to the public on Sept. 23, a 16-mile underground track linking Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Station to Futian station, which takes 14 minutes traveling at up to 120 mph, then connecting to the entire Chinese railway system (“HART Wants A Private Company To Finish The Honolulu Rail Project,” Sept 23).

This Chinese 16-mile, underground track, eight-year, eight-month project ran into cost overruns, i.e., storms that flooded the tunnels, that cost $10.7 billion. By the way, the Chinese already built a slower train track from Hong Kong to Beijing a long time ago (see map).

Now compare that to the HART project, that current estimates say will cost at least $8 billion (one estimate puts the figure at $13 billion) and is only half way finished, with a top speed of “55 mph and an average speed of 30 mph.”

This is more like a turtle train with an estimate of completing this project in 2025 and, according to the conservative public policy think tank Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, is the most expensive transit project in U.S. history (cost per capita).

History shows that Chinese labor built the U.S. mainland railroad system in the 19th century across a vast expanse linking the East and West Coasts, and if history has taught any lessons, the Chinese need to finish the HART line since it is obvious the Chinese know how to build trains a lot better, a lot faster, and a lot more cost effective.

Another possibility is to ask Disney to partner with HART and extend HART to the Aulani resort, putting Micky Mouse on the train attracting tourists to use HART to help pay for it

— Brady Barrows, Honolulu

News Vs. Commentary

It’s too easy to confuse the two

I think one of the issues that news consumers have with what’s perceived to be bias in the media comes from the prominence of opinion pieces in news organizations. Whether it is “talking heads” on television or a piece like Tom Yamachika’s recently, it seems many eyeballs tend to follow opinion, probably for the outrage, versus the button-downed, just-the-facts reporting.

I recall in grade school being taught the difference between opinion and factual statements, but I think much of this is lost on many of our people today.

My Civil Beat newsfeed doesn’t differentiate between commentary and straight reporting except for a small gray tag at the top of the story. My news feed today started with Yamachika’s piece, for example (“Tom Yamachika: Just Call It A Tax Already!” Sept. 23).

My wish is that commentary be separate from reporting — just to be clear about what’s what. Or at least have the discussion about this.

— Craig Fujii, Waipahu

Hawaii GOP

Stop worshipping at the Altar of Trump

Thanks, Mr. Blair. Well-written and informative (“Chad Blair: Can Anything Help The GOP In Hawaii?” Sept. 26)

While I tend not to vote Republican, I dislike the Democrats’ stranglehold on Hawaii. Just as the Ds are their own worst enemy in mainland politics, the Rs here in Hawaii have to own up to their enormous shortcomings, such as their shabby treatment of Beth Fukumoto because she wouldn’t worship at the Altar of Trump.

When the party pushes more self-respecting Republicans like Fukumoto and Charles Djou, maybe we can have more balance here.

— Sean Goodspeed, Ala Moana

Write a letter to Civil Beat. Send to news@civilbeat.org and put Letter in the subject line. 200 words max. You need to use your name and city and include a contact phone for verification purposes. The opinions and information expressed in letters are solely those of the authors and not Civil Beat.