Climate Change to Impact Incomplete Rail Transit for O'ahu (Credit: HART & Meteorologist Jessica Olsen)
DISCUSSION: The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) is a 20-mile rail. The line beginning in the West end of Oahu’s Kapolei and ending in Ala Moana, the bustling area of shopping in the heart of Waikiki. It has been a large project designed to provide an additional transportation solution for the nearly difficulties with its daily commute for those from the west side coming into town (Honolulu), with delays extending nearly 120 minutes at 5:00am daily, only to be met with the same traffic traveling westbound at 5:00pm. In addition the rail is expected to bring commuters to 70-80% of jobs located along the route.
It is expected that the 20-mile rail system will open its first phase in late 2020, offering transportation from Kapolei to the Aloha Stadium with the entire system becoming fully operational by 2025. With a fleet of 80 rail cars and an estimated ridership of 120,000 passengers during the week by 2030, it is a project that has come with much contention among locals and government officials due to the $1.55 billion price tag on construction ,”being paid for with funds from the Federal Transit Administration,” with a large portion being paid by tourist purchases through the GET (General Excise and Use Tax) surcharge, and residents and businesses of Oahu. The GET surcharge is expected to bring $4.8 billion for the project over the finality of the 2027 surcharge.
While the rail transit system will provide nearly 10,000 jobs to the economy, eliminate 40,000 car trips on already congested roads, provide a goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2045, there are some concerns that plague the rail even will in its current construction. According to the Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission established in 2014, research indicated global sea levels could rise more than 3 feet by the year 2100. The commission estimates that the support columns aiding the guideways could be underwater making some stations entryways inaccessible. The impact would not just affect the guideway but the ground level rail stations, possibly putting 8 stations at risk due to current sea level rise, in particular within the Honolulu corridor. HART has indicated by providing an elevated rail system it is avoiding problems that may be brought on by flooding, as Hawaii is expected to see major impacts of climate change throughout the years.
For more on climate impacts visit the Global Weather and Climate Center!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jessica Olsen
“HART.” Honolulu Rail Transit, honolulutransit.org/.
“Honolulu Rail Transit.” Executive Summary For Honolulu Rail Transit Draft Environmental Impact Statement To Be Online, www.honolulu.gov/csd-news-2008/3945-executive-summary-for-honolulu-rail-transit-draft-environmental-impact-statement-to-be-online.html.