Honolulu council and mayor approve $214M for rail project

HONOLULU — The Honolulu City Council and Mayor Kirk Caldwell have approved a $214 million spending bill for the city rail project, officials said.

The bill approves an annual maximum of $26 million toward the $9.2 billion project for rail service from East Kapolei to Ala Moana, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday.

The bill is expected to be funded through the sale of bonds that would be repaid from the city’s general fund, which primarily includes revenue from property taxes.

The council passed the measure 5-2 Wednesday and Caldwell signed the bill Thursday.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation officials said their projections did not show a need for money from the city’s general fund.

The Federal Transit Administration, however, insisted that the city make the commitment to pay a subsidy on the 20-mile (32-kilometer) line. The administration has held up about half of a promised $1.55 billion for the project after the projected costs increased from $5.2 billion.

The agency last year demanded the monetary commitment and a recovery plan showing show how the city would fund the remainder of the 21-station railway.

The bill makes no reference to a specific recovery plan, but a generic one “that may be revised and updated, and which may be adopted by the council,” city Budget Director Nelson Koyanagi told council members.

Community advocate Natalie Iwasa testified against the bill last week.

The funds cover the operating expenses for the city’s rapid transportation authority, “but we’re incurring additional financing costs because we’re paying them off over the long-term of 10-24 years,” Iwasa said in an email Monday. “That’s just not good policy.”


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

  1. I saw a Vampire once November 13, 2019 4:51 pm Reply

    The reason this project is taking so long is because there are no laborers around who want to work on this job. The cost is too high. The pay is too low. No reason to work. Plus health issues is always a problem. Some workers die on the job.

  2. I saw a Vampire once November 13, 2019 5:05 pm Reply

    And you’re looking at an entry level pay on construction, about $45,000 dollars a year. Doing the job. Lifting, carrying, placing, and other things to build it. The actual man building it. One mishap, and that worker dies on site. So the cost is too high. The pay is too low. Anybody can get a job building a rail project. But what is the pay? Too low and risky on health. Construction is not for everyone.

  3. harry oyama November 14, 2019 3:30 am Reply

    These incompetent and corrupt officials should all be impeached for bankrupting taxpayer’s ability to get basic services when this $10 billion dollar waste takes away valuable funding to fix our roads, sewer and water main which breaks every single day due to old age.

    They should all be thrown in federal prison, have their pensions taken away and no free public legal representations.

    1. Forgot November 14, 2019 3:03 pm Reply

      Forgot to add that this was the single biggest heist in the history of Hawaii. Those involved stole most of the money.

      There is/was about 50 family and friends making $500,000 A year as consultants to this projects.

      The date raised so much taxes to hand out billions of dollars to their families and friends.

      This is by far the single largest heist by the state of Hawaii government.

      I wrote to the Feds on several projects and they finally audited this corrupt project.

      Greed has more than doubled this project and will keep on costing tax payers because they raised everything from drivers licenses, TAT, registration, sales tax, property tax, and so on.

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