Hawaii Files Photo of the Day: T.O.D.

AUGUST 8, 2022: What is T.O.D.?  Transit Oriented Development is what T.O.D. is. We’ll call it TOD for short without the periods.

TOD is a big part of the RAIL scheme to develop all neighboring properties within a mile and a half radius along the rail line into high revenue entities. These properties are being bought out from their former owners for millions of dollars. The developers get support from the city administration to develop them with all kinds of exemptions in order to make the $14+ billion rail more palatable to those who support this gigantic, tax guzzling fiasco.

RAIL is a huge, costly mistake. The. $14 billion project has a long history of bungled financing, cost overruns, change orders and safety issues. Cracked concrete, tracks that don’t fit train wheels, malfunctioning “frogs”, ugly structures, possibly more cracks and a financial hole that continues to suck more money out of the taxpayers have been par for the course of rail. What was once billed as a traffic solution has now reared its ugly head to become a huge development scheme of which TOD is a big part of.

The impact from TODs are far reaching, disruptive and expensive.

It’s sad. The only people benefitting from rail and TOD are developers, construction companies, contractors, well-connected individuals and politicians who support it. Most people will not be able to live near the rail line nor occupy much of the space in the new high rises. It is development for the rich. A major fail.

Don’t forget. Every taxpayer pays for rail through a surcharge that became law in 2005 to the general excise tax. This tax is commonly and mistakenly referred to as a sales tax of which it is not. In addition to that, visitors and anyone staying in an accommodation in Hawaii pays for this through the State’s Transient Accomodations Tax. Property tax for City and County of Honolulu businesses and residents are definitely impacted by rail and TOD. Tax assessments have spiked higher along the TOD corridors of rail. Soon property tax payers will have to pay for operation and maintenance of rail once it starts rolling sometime in 2023… or maybe later.

Rail is still not finished. The city doesn’t have enough funds to build it all. Current plans call for rail to stop a mile short of its intended goal at Ala Moana Center. In the meantime properties around and close to the center have and are being redeveloped. TOD’s impact is here.

RAIL should have never been built.

Photo credit: (Top) Development and new high rise on the corners of Keeaumoku and Makaloa Streets in Honolulu, Hawaii. Taken with Canon Powershot S95 point and shoot camera. Taken by Melvin Ah Ching, ©2022. (Bottom photo): This image was originally posted to Flickr by Anthony Quintano at https://flickr.com/photos/22882274@N04/50068736917

The scar of Honolulu Rail




Melvin Ah Ching is a photographer, consultant, blogger, desktop publisher, and computer enthusiast living and working in Hawaii. The Hawaii Files have been online since 2006.