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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rail vs. runway


There has been some media discussion about the Lagoon Drive rail station and interference with one of the runways at the Honolulu International Airport.

No problem, within reason, for pilots when all engines are up and running. But, and it's a very big but, when an engine on a multi-engine airplane fails at V1 (engine failure recognition speed) the pilot can and may continue, and take off with the absolute guarantee he can take off and climb out clearing all obstacles.

Safe takeoffs are predicated on having a clear unobstructed takeoff flight path; that's what clearways are all about. If you build anything that projects into that clearway you invite disaster. Why would anyone want to do that? Just don't do it, period.

jim bugbee | Honolulu


The Advertiser's report, "Honolulu's rail route too close to runways, may have to shift," (March 17), neglected to describe less drastic solutions, including explaining the ease with which the runway could be extended on the makai side.

In general, the runway protection zone extends 1,900 feet from the end of a runway. The rail line would be about 1,400 feet from runway 22R. At the Honolulu airport, many existing buildings are within the RPZ, which exists to protect aircraft running off the end of runways.

Fortunately, there are no buildings or water courses within 1,000 feet of the makai end of runway 22R-4L, and all the land is airport property. This is probably the easiest solution.

One alternative is to lower the track into a cut lined with retaining walls and pass the trains under Lagoon Drive, which is about 7 feet above sea level at that point. This cut can be kept dry with proper drainage and a pump.

Finally, the article did not report that the RPZ rules are relatively new, and unlike other FAA rules on airport areas, they are applied differently at different airports. If they were applied strictly at Honolulu airport, a dozen or more businesses opposite runways 22R and 22L would have to close.

hannaH miyamoto | Honolulu



As a supporter of the city's mass transit project, I am dismayed and disturbed by the mayor's recent actions. While he must be commended for his leadership in getting the project off the ground and securing local funding, it is perplexing how he could now undermine it for personal political gain.

The recent disclosure that the city — and, I assume, the mayor — was notified of the FAA's concerns to the close proximity of the rail line to the airport runway as early as January 2009 raises doubts about the mayor's headlong attempt to start construction before the end of 2009, and his promises to start construction in 2010, knowing that the route could not be approved. Did he believe that the matter would go unnoticed before the election?

His actions remind us of the recklessness of the Lingle administration in pushing the Superferry project, again for political gain, without complying with necessary EIS requirements.

The mayor should stay where he is, serve out his full term, and repair the damage he has done to the most important public works project this state has ever undertaken. He must put the interests of the public above his own ambitions.

francis nakamoto | Honolulu



"That ($460 million rail) tax is costing the state jobs," according to UH economics professor Sumner LaCroix ("Number of rail jobs is anybody's guess," March 15).

Finally, someone had the courage to say it and publish it. It is amazing that next to nothing has been said about this .

It is revealing that so much hype is being made about how many jobs the rail will create, but no one is saying how many jobs the rail tax has already killed in this recession and how many more it will kill in the future.

While rail will create jobs, it will also kill jobs, so it makes no sense to keep hyping the job creation angle without subtracting out the related job loss. If your job is not rail-related, it is at risk.

As far as the supposed economic stimulus along the rail route, common sense dictates that that is also offset by business loss and economic stagnation for businesses that are away from the rail route.

The best traffic solution is to have the jobs where the people are. If we continue with the outdated concept of moving the people to the jobs, then the problem and expenses forever grow as the population does.

leighton loo | Mililani



Let me get this right. We can't afford to pay teachers to teach on certain Fridays, but we can spend money to pay the police to pose as prostitutes, arrest the johns, and if Mr. Charles Djou has his way, have their cars towed away and perhaps auctioned off. Could that be called tow-in-prostitution?

Gee, let me reassess my position. Maybe it is a good idea. With the money from the fines and the cars being sold at auction, perhaps we could pay the teachers and get the kids back in school.

Why don't we simply legalize prostitution, tax it appropriately, and then use that money to pay the teachers?

jean-jacques dicker | Honolulu



I can't say that I would be in favor of a ban on people riding in the bed of a truck since I have many fond memories of doing so over my lifetime.

Unfortunately you can't cure "stupid." The woman responsible for the death of her passenger pulled an illegal U-turn and was driving on a suspended license and had a string of driving offenses to her name.

It's not the trucks, it's the drivers. Look how many people die in car accidents every year. We aren't looking to ban people riding in cars, are we?

How about motorcycles? I ride mine every day to and from work and lots of people die every year in bike accidents. Kids have to wear helmets and safety gear to be a motorcycle passenger.

Maybe we need to put some actual "teeth" in our laws, like taking away an offender's vehicle or mandating jail time for drivers who obviously flaunt the law.

As it is, we have one more dead child to mourn and another family devastated.

So sad. Auwe!

michel grotstein | Kan[0xeb]'ohe



I am writing to ask you to understand why working citizens support raising the state general excise tax — just a small increase may be the best solution right now for Hawai'i.

I read what the local economists said recently and agree that a small tax increase will help boost our economy — while continued cuts to social services only harm our economy. Since the tourists already pay 38 percent of the GET, the impact will be less on residents.

I make a modest income, and the small tax increase comes out to one more penny for every dollar that I spend.

I can bear this small increase as a taxpayer, but I cannot bear seeing more jobs and public services cut. Please support the passing of a small increase in the state GET.

jennie whitlock | Mo'ili'ili