Back in more naive days (more than three years ago), we wrote often in this space that a light rail system from Central Maui to the resort areas should be considered.
We proposed the basic system would run from near the airport toward Maalaea, then form a T with one leg going south toward Kihei and Wailea and the other going north toward Lahaina, Kaanapali and Kapalua.
We thought it made sense to have the main car rental areas near the resorts to stop congestion on the roads to those areas. It also seemed that a lot of the congestion would be relieved if resort workers who lived in Central Maui used the rail system to commute to work.
It also would have meant that we would not have to pave over Maui.
Last week we spent some time on Oahu and we came away wondering how anybody can oppose the rail system plan there. The dense traffic at rush hour on H-1 and Nimitz can turn a 15-minute trip from the airport into a one-hour commute to downtown. At times, H-1 resembled a huge parking lot.
It would appear that the only alternatives are light rail - or more, wider highways. Let's face it, broad stretches of concrete are ugly. How anyone could prefer the further uglification of Oahu to a rail system is beyond us.
The time for consideration of a rail system here may have passed. But as the Maui Island Plan moves forward and traffic corridors are considered and purchased, we hope officials will consider alternatives to more and more pavement here.
We have to find ways to allow for progress while protecting the beauty of our island. Perhaps a rail system is still a viable option.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.