Bay Area Transit Woes Should Provide a Lesson … But Don’t.
In the late 1950s, the first talks began about designing and building a commuter rail system connecting the metropolitan areas around the Bay Area and linking everything to San Francisco. The idea was ambitious and visionary. The vocal opponents proclaimed that ridership estimates had been inflated, that cost estimates had been minimized, and that crippling taxes would have to be raised to pay for the proposed system.
As I write this, BART has been shut down for two days by a labor dispute and the entire Bay Area is a mess …nearly paralyzed. Some folks are electing to slug it out in the monumental traffic jams; others are working from home as best they can; the rest are just making do … somehow.
Today, 40 years after it was first proposed, and after two one-vote losses over the years on the Honolulu City Council, construction has finally begun on Honolulu’s first and only rapid transit system.
To no one’s surprise, the people who successfully fought the project here for all these earlier years refuse to give up. They’re still fighting it, and still using the very same arguments heard from those obstructionists in San Francisco way back in 1959.
They’re quite wrong, of course. Just ask any one of the millions of people stuck in one of those Bay Area traffic jams.