Climate Change, Again in Contention As Rail Enters Honolulu Corridor (Credit: HART & Meteorologist Jessica Olsen)
DISCUSSION: Nearly 4 months after our initial reporting on possible impacts to HART (Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation) due to climate change, concerns are still rising as projections for climate change impacts are expected to bring more than a 3-foot change to the latter part of the corridor by the year 2100.
The Hawai’i Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation Commission is expected to “provide direction, facilitation, coordination and planning among state and county agencies and other partners about climate change mitigation and climate change resiliency strategies, including but not limited to, sea level rise adaptation, water and agricultural security and natural resource conservation.”
Interest involving climate change consequences are focused on coastal flooding, and sea level rise which could result in 8 ground level rail stations in the Honolulu area. HART indicates its adaptation efforts by already providing an elevated guideway, thus reducing any future sea-level rise ramifications. However, research conducted by the Hawai’i Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation Commission estimates that the support columns aiding the guideways could be underwater in some instances, making some stations’ entryways inaccessible.
Thursday, July 19th State Rep. Sylvia Luke, chairwoman of the House Finance Committee indicated to HART that adjustments should be made to the rail line brining it along King Street to the University of Hawaii rather than by way of Ala Moana Boulevard due to mounting concern of sea-level rise along Ala Moana Boulevard. Some are predicting that this 3-feet of rise could happen in as little as 20 years, putting Kakaako in danger of flooding critical access points along the rail line.
Some drawback has come from Mayor Kirk Caldwell indicating HART can respond to these climate issues without altering the route. He notes the route was set to serve a substantial population in its current plans. Both parties are discussing issues brought by this climate debate such as the public-private partnerships contracts that could ultimately bring additional public scrutiny over funding.
For more in climate change impacts visit the Global Weather and Climate Center!
Our initial article on climate change impacts to HART!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jessica Olsen
“HART.” Honolulu Rail Transit, honolulutransit.org/.
“Hawaiʻi Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation Commission.” Hawaiʻi Climate Adaptation Portal, 14 Sept. 2017, climateadaptation.hawaii.gov/commission/.