Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Doofus Of The Day #1,079


Today's award goes to Hawaii's railway project, which has had to admit an embarrassing - and extremely expensive - failure to coordinate.

The trains built for Honolulu's troubled rail project have wheels that are too narrow for the track, and solving the problem will lead to more issues or more delays.

Replacing the wheels will add too much weight to the trains. Replacing the tracks would push the timeline back a year.

. . .

The too-thin wheels are in addition to other problems ... including subpar welding and sandblasting that created cracks.

The 20-mile, 21-station project is now budgeted to cost $12.449 billion, is not scheduled for completion until March 2031 and has no easy way to plug a $3.577 billion shortfall.

There's more at the link.

The mind boggles at the colossal incompetence of design teams never bothering to check with each other whether the wheels one ordered would work with the rails another ordered, and vice versa.  It's absolutely insane - but it happened, and it's costing billions.  Of course, they're only taxpayer dollars, so bureaucrats aren't too worried about that.  What's more, since Hawaii is one of the bluest of blue states, there's little likelihood the government that permitted such incompetence to flourish will be kicked out by outraged voters (although such a fate would be no more than it deserves).

According to the World Population Review, Hawaii (all the islands, not just ) has a population of 1,406,430.  Each and every one of them is now on the hook for more than $2,500 as their individual share of the cost overrun on this project - and that's over and above the initial cost of the rail network.  (Let's remember, too, that it'll serve only one island in the chain.  I wonder what the residents of the other islands feel about being forced to pay for this screw-up, which will do nothing whatsoever for them?)

Bureaucrats and politicians.  They're a lethal combination.



ruralcounsel said...

Almost all wealth in Hawaii comes from tourists. That's where the money will eventually have to come from, no matter whose hands it passes through on the way to becoming taxes.

It will become much more expensive to vacation in Hawaii. That is all.

Aaron said...

Talk about insanity, that's a cost of over 592 million per mile for a rail system that can't work. I suspect they could give every family in Hawaii a car at that cost and have enough left over for a bus line for the same route.

The Lab Manager said...

In my part of the country, a regional city built new water towers, but they are useless because the aging pipelines could not handle the higher water pressure. You would think engineers in charge would evaluate some of this before getting started.

I wonder how much duh-versity was on these project teams.

Eaton Rapids Joe said...

Diesel powered metro transit coaches cost about $800k. They typically get a major rebuild at 400,000 miles and then are auctioned off at 800,000 miles.

That means they could have purchased about 15,000 metro transit coaches that run on virtually any road better than a goat track and deployed them to all of the islands. They could start showing up in the fleet in a month.

And if demand shifts, changing routes is as easy as upgrading the schedule or changing the location of the bus stops.

Some investors LOVE trains because it cannot be moved. If you owned a casino or mega-hotel, for instance, that gives you a permanent advantage over your competition and you don't need to renovate as often or offer excellent service (labor costs) as your competitors.

Beans said...

Don't feel bad for them. Disney, yes, Disney, ordered new monorail trains one year. Yaknow, the monorail that's been in existence since, well, the beginning of D'world and early on in D'land?

And they were inches too wide. Inches. And that matters. Oops.

On the other hand, in Florida, Brightline, a private company, is forging ahead in building high-speed rail from Miami to Cocoa and from Cocoa to Tampa via Orlando (and Orlando International Airport.) Lessee, three Cruise Ship ports and lots of theme parks. Hmmm.

Public transportation... Yeah, people keep telling me how great it is. Good thing I was born a skeptic.

dogsledder said...

I am reminded of the saying "Close enough for government work". The engineers who "worked" on the rail system should immediately start working on the bridge to the mainland. Make-work jobs that will never end, another way to redistribute wealth, and an ever-expanding budget. Perfect !

Unknown said...

How the ;:)& do you |>>~ up a standardized measurement?
Even narrow-gauge has agreed upon industry standards.

The bit about replacing the wheels making the trains too heavy stinks to high heaven. The entire point of track is to move heavy loads with a minimum of rolling resistance, so there’s necessarily a large amount of intrinsic fudge factor. This should only make a difference if the trains were massively underpowered to begin with.

Redneck said...

No worries, the rest of the U.S. taxpayers will bail them out.