How Would Things Be Different?
Its important to contemplate the results of past political choices and how would our present be different if other directions had been offered and taken. Hawaii would be a much different place had it continued to trend GOP following the Lingle Administration. If Hawaii had grown and maintained a decisive Republican presence in state government then, in a multitude of different areas, we could have built a dramatically different future for our state. Below are a few of the many alternate futures that pop up when contemplating the "what-if's" and what the lack of political diversity in Hawaii's government and politics can cost.
The Hawaii Superferry
21st Century Inter-Island Transportation
Uniting the island with an inter-island ferry system goes back to the Burn's Administration. The Superferry went into operation in 2007 and imagine how different things would be if this year marked the 10 year anniversary of its being in continuous operation. How much would an additional mode of inter-island travel and transport have boosted the state economy? Would increased competition have lowered and secured the cost of inter-island travel and the transportation of goods and services? There is little argument that the ease of transportation of people and vehicles the Superferry offered would have helped integrate the state allowing people to move more freely between the islands helping spread prosperity, opportunity and unity between the islands. An inter-island ferry system was and remains an essential part of building a stronger more diverse economy for the state of Hawaii. The Superferry was killed by entrenched monopolies and divisive politicians (and judges) as well as those who would continue to support a fractured inter-island transportation system that hold Hawaii and her people back from making real progress in moving towards long term economic development.
Honolulu Rapid Transit System
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
Nothing may have more negative long term impact on the economic future of Oahu (and much of the state) than Honolulu's choice of rapid transit. As in all areas of life if one view-point (as in Republican preference for market based economic solutions) is shut out of the public debate, then even when people given a "choice" as in the 2008 Oahu Rail Vote, the choices can be predictable one sided considering the advantage held by Hawaii's interconnected political-patronage system. A viable Republican presence in government may have helped choose a Honolulu Rapid Transit option that could have delivered a mass-transit system on time and within budget. The Bus Rapid Transit system used throughout much of the world appears to be a much better fit for Oahu's size and potential ridership than the massive and over priced elevated rail. A BRT system could have been put in operation much quicker and with zero or few bus transfers required to get to the rider from point A to point B. The cost of building the Elevated Rail, as staggering as it may end up being, has to also include its budget busting long term projected operating cost currently at 100 million per year. Potential ridership is unknowable considering the hassle of transferring from car or bus to rail and back to bus or taxi to reach a final destination. The only assurance the public has is the rail will operate at a yearly loss ad infinitum. The fact that the entire system in useless until its entire length from Kapolei to Ala Moana is completed means we have a long term project that offers unknown economic benefit with no way to gauge its operation until the very last bolt is put in place is an expensive lesson in one sided political judgment.
New Vision and Direction
Casting A New Vision For Hawaii
There are a lot of "what-if's" in Hawaii politics that can be extrapolated to help change the political calculus. What's not in doubt is even as a majority of voters continue to support the dominate Democrat Party there is a rising cost for that allegiance. Those who would seek to challenge this multi-generation voting pattern need to project a future that has more promise and appeal then that offered by maintaining the present status quo.