• Thursday, October 18, 2018
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Feds to city: No more money for rail, no stopping at Middle Street

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    City transit officials announced in the spring that it now likely will cost an estimated $8 billion to build the line the 20 miles from East Kapolei to Ala Moana with 21 rail stations, about $2 billion more than what was being estimated two years ago.

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Federal transit officials told a Honolulu delegation in San Francisco today not to expect additional federal dollars to pay for a $2 billion shortfall in the city’s rail project budget.

At the same time, the Federal Transit Administration made it clear that stopping at Middle Street — rather than to Ala Moana as the city original promised — is not acceptable and warned that stopping the line short could put Honolulu on the hook for a $1.55 billion federal grant, the city said in a news release.

City transit officials announced in the spring that building rail now likely will cost an estimated $8 billion for the full 20 miles from East Kapolei to Ala Moana with 21 rail stations, about $2 billion more than what was estimated two years ago.

The FTA said today basically reiterated that its grant was contingent on building all 20 miles and 21 stations, city officials said.

The Honolulu delegation traveled to the FTA’s western regional office for two days of meetings and included Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Council Chairman Ernie Martin, Council Transportation Chairman Joey Manahan, Honolulu Authority for Rail Transportation Chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa and HART acting Executive Director Michael Formby.

Leading discussions on the FTA side was Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers.

“Both Mayor Caldwell and Council Chair Martin asked the FTA for a commitment for additional funds,” the release said “The FTA’s response was ‘no.’”

The release quoted Manahan as saying: “We need the Legislature’s support to invest in a better future with us and to recognize the role rail will play in improving the quality of life for the people of Hawaii.”

Key state lawmakers told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser this afternoon, however, that extending the 0.5 percent Oahu-only surcharge on the general excise tax would be a hard sell.

City officials said they are optimistic that the FTA will consider their request to extend the deadline for coming up with a recovery plan for the project funding beyond the current Dec. 31 timeline.

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        • It makes perfect sense that the FTA wants to go all the way to Ala Moana. A halfway built system is worthless. Extending the small half percent GE tax is the easiest way to get ‘er done.

        • I actually agree with BS, I mean UB, that a halfway built rail line is worthless.

          But completely disagree about taxes. UB, your mother and I’ve told you a hundred times to go to college, take an economics course. And she’s right, you’ve turned out to be a big disappointment!

        • cladwell has no problems with this shortfall. After all he has his Territorial Savings $250,000 a year directorship for which he only puts in 2 hours a month. Wonder if Territorial has any developers, contractors, union bosses, or PRP people also serving on its board. That amount is more than he gets as full-time mayor of the city.

          When push comes to shove, cladwell will just take his golden parachute and exit the flaming choo-choo train plane.

        • Build to Ala Moana? At what cost? 15 billion? 20 billion? Then when the Oahu taxpayers are tapped out, then comes the crushing 15 to 20 million dollar monthly subsidy for the operations and maintenance.

          Time to cut our losses and tear down the rail. Admit it was an error and spend any remaining funds on actual traffic reduction measures.

        • wiliki, I spoke to the people building the Waipahu transit station and they said if everything goes perfect they will finish in late October of 2018 but if for any reason there are delays it could be 2019 or later easily. so your post about using anything in 2017 is pure shibai. the best thing would be to Stop the elevated guide way at the ALOHA STADIUM and turn it into a REVERSABLE HIGHWAY FOR ALL LEEWARD RESIDENTS TO USE. The 10 mile section will get you past the interchange chock hold mornings and evenings and will allow much faster times into greater Honolulu for all. Just think NO NEED FOR MORE RAIL CARS, NO NEED TO BUILD A POWER PLANT TO OPORATE IT, NO FUTURE OVERHEAD AND MAINTANANCE, NO BROKEN CHOO CHOO’S AND THE BIGGIE NO NEED TO RAISE TAXES THINK HAWAII THINK and vote Djou.

        • Total waste of a state of the art rail guideway to use for cars or even BRT. Our city would be a laughingstock when compared to other major cities all over the world.

      • We still have moneys that we haven’t spent on construction, stop the project, renegotiate with the Feds for an affordable alternative, and STOP TAXING THE PEOPLE.

        • Fed’s already have put their foot down on the necks of Honolulu taxpayers and will not budge from their decision. We can blame, Hanneman, Carlisle and Caldwell for all of the bad decisions when it comes to transit rail! Will they do anything to help pay for it? No, they don’t live anywhere near where the rail will run from East Kapolei to Ala Moana, but they will probably invest in “transit oriented development” and reap the windfall that will occur.

        • Some things never change. I can’t believe the old tired statements supporting rail. The project is a disaster.

        • They’ve already succeeded in moving the deadline from December to June 2017. To me that is successful.

        • wiliki says: “They’ve already succeeded in moving the deadline from December to June 2017. To me that is successful.”

          That says a lot about you.

      • The original purpose for the rail was to provide Mass transit for the West and Central Oahu for less than $3 Billion as proposed by Mufi.

        Mass transit from Central and West Oahu UH Manoa, Kaneohe, Waikiki and beyond is feasible for under $4 Billion. Don’t need the Feds $1.55 Billion nor their ultimatum to build to Aloha Tower.

        The practical option is to convert the rail guide way to a 2-lane, HOV(2) Reversible Expressway (no toll) from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium for less than $4 Billion already collected via GET. The two-lane reversible can be used for single passenger vehicles during non-peak hours. Tampa has built a Reversible Express Lane for $42 million per mile in year 2006, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkM-MC3N-oY. The Tampa elevated structure is built similar to the Oahu Rail guide way (see typical cross section for both structures).

        The reversible expressway can carry up to 17,000 commuters per hour (200 express buses and 3800 vehicles per hour) versus 3,000 RAIL commuters per hour. The express buses can continue on to Kaneohe, UH Manoa, Waikiki and beyond. . New buses are 80% Federally funded and would cost the city $40 million for 200 new buses. HART plans to purchase 80 rail cars at $2.0 million (Oahu taxpayer funded) each for $160 million.

        Eliminate the costs for the rail cars, rail stations, new power plant for rail, utilities relocation, land acquisition, etc, to keep the cost under $4 Billion.

      • The Federal Government knows that the money for Rail is being spent foolishly, like have the Rail Cars already delivered, Rail won’t be finished for years. We remember Kirks Promise ” Rail will be on time and on Budget”! Vote for Charles Djou !

        • The rail cars will be obsolete and rusted by the time the rusting iron tracks get laid.
          Speaking of that, we’ve been ‘crewed.

      • The proper term is BOONDOGGLE. We the public have been lied to by our own government. We were sold out to the Unions
        who fixed our elections (PRP)and accepted special favors in the form of a golf game when Millions in CASH were paid in bribe money by Ansaldo in other locations. Back when Caldwell was the City Mng Director and in the front line of the RUSTING RAIL PROJECT along with MUFEE DA BULLY. Who is surprisingly SILENT along with NESTER GARCIA AND THE OTHER CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS WHO TOOK A GOLF GAME OR 2 ( along with other unmentionalble items in little brown envelopes of LOVE. We need a special investigator who is not on the take to review this from day one. I think we are tired of being lied to, what do you think??? vote Djou for our future

    • Let’s not “throw good money after bad” – time to shut this thing down and cut our losses! We need to live within our means. Period. No mo’ money!

        • Yep. Paying the Feds back their 1.5 billion will be much cheaper than spending $8-$16 billion to finish it, and then being stucking paying an additional half billion dollars each year to run it. If you think fares are going pay for this, you’re smoking something.

        • So far the feds have only given us 250 Million (or so) & are holding back any present or future funding wo we only have to back a little. It may well be worth it. Scrap the RAIL AND USE THE EXISTING GUIDE WAY AS A REVERSABLE HIGHWAY (possibly HOV/BUSLANE) TO GET OVER THE BOTTLENECK. This way all Leeward residents get use of it. No need for RAIL CARS AND OVERHEAD BECAUSE NO MORE CHOO CHOO

      • Have the corrupt incompetent idjiots who pushed this doomed rail project tear it down and pay back the Feds with their personal money. Garnish their wages for the next 60 years, and no running for office until they’ve paid every penny back!

    • The mess started in 2008 when Mufi Hannemann and Kirk Caldwell resurrected the rail project from the mass rail graveyard and sold it to a gullible public by claiming the line, which was then planned to be a 26-mile route ending at UH, would cost $3.7 billion only. The project had nothing to do with improving public transportation and had everything to do with buying votes from construction workers for Mufi’s and Kirk’s political ambitions. Look at where we are now – a 20-mile route ending at Ala Moana Center for upwards of $8 billion and no enough money to finish the project without some draconian measures being taking like increasing property taxes, increasing the GET rail surcharge to 1% and extending the surcharge indefinitely. Don’t look now, folks, but we have been had. And unfortunately, the politicians who put us here have not been held accountable and most like will never be.

      • I agree. Feds have paid our state the money it needed for rail, and continued to ask for more. Our state politicians should be held accounted for as you stated. But like you said, they never will.

      • You are spot on about how this mess started. But I think their lie started at $2.7 billion! Incredibly reckless with taxpayers’ money and the future of the entire island. How do they sleep at night?

  • Thanks Caldwell for allowing this to run so far over-budget that we will most likely see a huge property tax increase if you get re-elected. No thanks. You already burned your bridges at the State, too, so no more GET. I guess you at least have your $200,000 a year bank job where you only have to work two hours a month.

      • That’s a big negative OD, the whole debacle was caused by people not knowing what they were doing but wanting to get it pushed so far they could say “it’s a done deal, the projects already left the station, it’s too late now” and not getting all legal requirements done before starting. As far as the governors office having anything to do with this joke, it was Goofy Handyman who rammed this CITY fiasco through.

        • I tend to agree with you, Ewaduffer. Moreover, if and when the rail is built, there will be the matter of maintenance. Based upon the experience of NYC’s subway system, ridership fees alone will not cover maintenance, and NYC’s subways get heavy use from the public. What a disaster for taxpayers.

      • OD is BS. Frivolous lawsuits do not delay construction projects. A valid lawsuit however, might bring injunctions that delat construction. Those delays were caused because the city began work before they had proper clearances,

    • Krooked Kirk will lose that sweet gig when he’s not re-elected. He’ll be of NO use to the bank.

      Luckily he’ll be able to lower his property tax rate DOWN again on his “historic” home after he loses the election

    • well, now it’s up to those in office now to find ways to pay back the fed grant of $1.55B without killing the state and Honolulu’s citizenry. up to now it has always been, “oh, the feds will pony up the money for our mistakes in management and planning.” looks like the “kirkie krock” has hit the proverbial wall – including his run for re-election. can’t hide behind grand marketing and election campaign rhetoric now!!! the negative economic impact will be gargantuan and intolerable for the city to bear!!!! the city is “us”. thank you, kirkie! will you donate your $200K annual bank salary to the cause for as long as it takes??? i don’t think so!!

    • The original purpose for the rail was to provide Mass transit for the West and Central Oahu for less than $3 Billion as proposed by Mufi.

      Mass transit from Central and West Oahu UH Manoa, Kaneohe, Waikiki and beyond is feasible for under $4 Billion. Don’t need the Feds $1.55 Billion nor their ultimatum to build to Aloha Tower.

      The practical option is to convert the rail guide way to a 2-lane, HOV(2) Reversible Expressway (no toll) from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium for less than $4 Billion already collected via GET. The two-lane reversible can be used for single passenger vehicles during non-peak hours. Tampa has built a Reversible Express Lane for $42 million per mile in year 2006, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkM-MC3N-oY. The Tampa elevated structure is built similar to the Oahu Rail guide way (see typical cross section for both structures).

      The reversible expressway can carry up to 17,000 commuters per hour (200 express buses and 3800 vehicles per hour) versus 3,000 RAIL commuters per hour. The express buses can continue on to Kaneohe, UH Manoa, Waikiki and beyond. . New buses are 80% Federally funded and would cost the city $40 million for 200 new buses. HART plans to purchase 80 rail cars at $2.0 million (Oahu taxpayer funded) each for $160 million.

      Eliminate all rail related costs to keep the cost under $4 Billion.

      • Major cities use rail as the best use of transportation infrastructure. We have made great progress and need to finish rail for our better future. Buses will never be as effective and efficient as rail.

        • 17,000 vehicular commuters versus 3,000 rail commuters AND $4 Billion for reversible expressway versus $10 Billion for Rail? Are you serious?

  • HAH!! WHOOPS, KIRK!!

    Now, perhaps voters will see the potential value in a mayor that has, say, experience in Washington? Perhaps, connections with the party that rules Congress and controls the federal purse-strings? Perhaps, personal relationships with the most powerful members of Congress??

    No, no, no…that would make local voters rational and logical. That’s not how we do things “local style.”

  • No more money from the Feds. Steep penalty for stopping at Middle Street. Can you hear the squeeshy sound of Oahu as it’s caught between a rock and a hard place? Now, let’s stand by as Caldwell and other politicians figure out how they’re going to further screw Oahu to get more money.

      • Yes they are building it bass ackwards. It should have started at UH Manoa and then built with operating segments for each section as its built. We are governed by people who have accepted special favors and misc little brown envelopes of Green Cashola

        • If construction was to start in town, nothing would be built yet. Now we are well on our way to completing a world class rail transit system for our better long term future. We are in an excellent position now.

  • Manahan: The roll rail will play in improving the quality of life for the people of Hawaii. How the heck is that going to improve the quality of life for those that don’t live on Oahu. Its a city project so Oahu needs to find the money without using state funds.

  • “Optimistic” about getting an extension on the recovery plan deadline? How? The Legislature already said no to an excise tax increase/extension. Who’s going to propose a tax increase during an election year??? Tear. It. Down.

    • The FTA just gave the democratic party of Hawaii what they wanted, a reason to continue the GE tax surcharge without blame. We’ll be lucky if they don’t make it permanent. I don’t believe the Democrats will allow the GE tax surcharge to sunset, now that they’ve got the extra income, there’s no way they’re going to give it up. Look for them to extend the tax surcharge to the entire state instead and give each county the same cut Honolulu is getting now.

  • If the money needs to be returned so be it. Better to stop digging now rather than continuing this disaster of a rail project which will
    incur billions in cost not only to build but to maintain. What the FTA says now is not set in stone and will change when the next
    administration comes into power. The guys pushing to continue this rail project disaster are the guys who have been wetting their beaks
    at the public trough. Like Caldwell and his cronies. They do not care what happens to you all or whether this project bankrupts the City
    as long as they get to benefit financially. They are all busy getting theirs and do not really care about anything else. This is how deep
    the corruption has become. People grabbing all what they can and be dammed with anyone else.

  • I can only imagine the mood on the plane ride home, and what’s going through the minds of the members of our delegation.

    ERNIE: “Do I really have to sit this close to that f***ing LOSER?? Wait…is he crying?”

    DAMIEN: “Brah, I like false crack dis f***a.”

    HANABUSA: “Now, how the f*** do I sell this loser down the river before election day? Mental note…have my husband threaten him next week.”

    MORIOKA: “Hmmmm…wonder if it’s too late to crawl back to the GOP?”

    FORMBY: “Can I get the same severance package that Grabby did?”

    KIRK: “No, no, no, no no no no no…this is the FTA’s fault. No, this is HART’s fault! No, this is the legislature’s fault! No, this is the council’s fault! No, this is the GOP’s fault! No, this is George Bush’s fault!! NO, this is CHARLES DJOU’S FAULT!!! Sniff…somebody make this better? Maybe my wife will put on the quarterback outfit and beat me with a stick when I get home? That always helps. I hope my daughter didn’t steal all my pain killers again.”

    Either way, KIRK CALDWELL IS FINISHED AS MAYOR.

  • Like the implosion of Obamacare, everyone shoulda’ seen this coming. Just goes to show you that when our “public servants” want to loot the taxpayers there isn’t much that can be done but grab the ankles.

    • Exactly. How many “I told you so’s” apply to rail. Just like Healthcare, which was suppose to save you on average $2500.00 per year, keep your doctor and the rest, none of it was true. The result? 160 million dollars blown on HI exchanges (where is the money is a mystery) From the inception Rail proponents knew it was not a 3 plus billion dollar project, but it was made to sound very attractive, with the “feds” picking up a good percentage of the cost. Well, now the citizens of Hawaii are going to be paying all those who have benefited to date, for many years to come. Even if it is torn down, the unions will benefit. Should have listened to Wonderman and the rest.

      • cajaybird, I have been 100% right from day one and only now its becoming apparent. either way thank for agreeing with me and now lets l=clean up the mess this BOONDOGGLE HAS CREATED. START BY VOTING DJOU IN AND CALDWELL OUT.

  • Time to start selling some city properties, raise the property tax on those luxury condos, and remove the tax exemption for historic homes . . . it’s garage sale time ladies and gents!

  • Stop it now. Quit while we’re ahead. Reimbursing the feds $1.55 Billion is a lot less expensive than the $2 Billion PLUS whatever else will be needed to complete the rail AND to maintain it.

  • Time for the state to raise taxes, and yes STATE, not just Honolulu. Thank you neighbor islands for helping us, because like it or not, it will happen. Thank you for those that supported rail. Hope you and your children will be using it, because we will ALL be paying for it. Winner of this of course are the politicians & developers, hopefully they secured some spots along the rail for their pet projects. Lucky we live Hawaii.

  • That’s what they wanted to hear, now the legislature can blamelessly extend or preferably, make permanent the GE tax surcharge used to fund rail. This has been their plan all along, they’ve all known from day 1 it would cost 10 billion + to build rail. That was by design, not cost overrun. They did the exact same thing when the H-3 was built. That’s how they roll, lie upfront and double or triple the costs once you pass the point of no return. It’s a tried and true democratic strategy that works well for their special interest masters. Change orders!

    • I am a nobody but I want an audit of the contractors.
      I work in the construction industry and I know how
      change orders are calculated. I have a deep suspicion
      that Caldwell has earned much, much more than his
      side job. Does anyone know how easy it is to hide $1,000,000
      in a $10,000,000,000 project? It’s chump change>

  • For those of you that seem unable to accept conversion to maglev as a solution: What is your plan now that the FTA turned down the city’s plea for more money? Are you ready to dig even deeper into your pockets for a huge increase in property taxes to get rail to Ala Moana, or will you be praying for the State Legislature to extend the surcharge another 12-15 years to cover the shortfall? Or are you ready to terminate rail at Middle Street, switch to bus rapid transit, and forfeit $1.55 billion in federal funds? Perhaps you are ready to kill rail, pay back already received federal funds, and make Honolulu the poster child for how badly a municipal transit project can be handled. Mayor Caldwell and Mr. Djou have no palatable solutions, so who will you vote for in November? I will repeat something posted earlier on Richard Borreca’s column: Bring a Maglev 2000 team in from the mainland and determine how we can make the switch to maglev and bring in a more comprehensive and superior system within the existing budget.

    • Meglev was recommended in the beginning. It would have made sense to not use outdated technology, but the concept of “rail” was flawed from the beginning.

      • We have one four-car train. Yes, it could be converted for maglev, but producing maglev cars makes more sense. FYI, the steel wheels guideway can be converted to maglev and could still accommodate trains with the current configuration. A maglev-only guideway, however, the cheapest way to complete the alignment, would not accommodate steel wheels. Bottom line: We can use what we have but the best and cheapest solution is to pause what is being done and start an immediate conversion to maglev.

  • Let’s not “throw good money after bad” – time to shut this thing down and cut our losses! We need to live within our means. Period. No mo’ money!

  • Stop building, tear it down or find a another use for it. City still has no way to provide power and no plan for operation and maintenance.
    Mufi and PRP morons. Have Mufi, Caldwell, Carlisle, past and present council members pay the FTA back out of their personal funds and properties.
    Caldwell can contribute $300,000 per year by himself.
    Insulting that HART could not fire Grabby for cause and avoid paying him his $200,000 plus “unearned” salary.
    Fools that want to put Caldwell and Hanabusa back in office. WAKE UP!!!

  • Please shut it down NOW.. It’s going to be 10 billion buy the time we finish it.. Better for us and our children… We just cannot afford this.. We knew this from the beginning our Elected officials are idiots… The people who projected it should be liable for this fiasco.. You guys make me sick.. Tax us more why don’t you?!.. Hannamans chu chu train… Idiots.. Wasting money! Business as usual .. Idiots!

  • And that’s why we spend 10 years planning major infrastructure. Blown FFG is pathetic mark of complete incompetent planning. All hail Mufi madness. Bring in a jailor for him as well.

  • Stand by. The next money hole coming is so-called “sustainable energy”. The green industry snake oil salesmen will play on the ignorance of the public the same way the rail and ACA proponents did. Green energies like wind and solar are not only unreliable but obscenely expensive relative to fossil fuels. The higher costs will be passed on to already struggling working families and will cripple the state economy or what’s left of it after they finish paying for rail.

  • Go all the way to Ala Moana to get 1.55 billion from Feds. They’re not thinking that to get the 1.55 billion, it will cost 2 billion. Loser again if it goes all the way. Better to stop at middle street and save the .05 billion or use what’s left to tear it all down and get rid of all the problems that rail has created. Life and our beautiful city was better & nicer without it. Traffic was better too. Forgot to mention that the permanent “temporary” 1/2% tax would be gone too.

  • Our founding father had their tea party in Boston Harbor.

    It’s high time we the “average locals” put TAR & FEATHER to MooFee, Carlisle and KROOK and run them out of town!!!!

  • Time to tear it down. Well, if its water down the drain, maybe those concrete guideways can be used for erosion control at beaches and or artificial reefs. Probably need EIP for that though.

  • When will these wise politicos realize that NOTHING works correctly in this town. Please leave me out of any your brilliant ideas to improve my life. I, as well as many astute others , saw this disaster coming before that first shovel of dirt took place. Mr Mayor, I’ll never forget your lies and deceit!!!. What a legacy!

  • “The release quoted Manahan as saying: “We need the Legislature’s support to invest in a better future with us and to recognize the role rail will play in improving the quality of life for the people of Hawaii.”” Unfortunately, this has not been factored in to the transit rail plan by anyone associated with Rail in the City administration for the last 3 mayors and countin. Transit rail was “touted” as releiving traffic congestion on Honolulu’s freeways into the city; but that has been recognized as a “factual lie” and yet it is still tossed around by rail proponents. Many think that “short term pain” for long term economic gain, is a great idea, but there are no studies presented to prove that might be the case for Honolulu; all they see is the continued pain of paying through the pocket book and higher taxes by a City Administration that has lost sight of it’s goals.

    • This ENTIRE ISLAND owes Ben a BIG APOLOGY.
      Ben was not a newcomer to the rail project.
      He knew was it was not viable…just read his
      book…BEN. Man, we are like lemmings running
      off a cliff following the old ways and “leaders”.

    • That’s right. Hawaii people voted once for rail, then they voted against Cayetano who would have stopped it. Hawaii people vote with their eyes shut and nonfunctioning brains. Watch and see them vote for Caldwell this November. Hahahaha, bunch of losers here in Hawaii.

  • The city has frittered away millions, if not billions, on an elevated guide-way in the suburbs. That was the easy part of the project. When they enter the urban core, the costs and delays will be exacerbated. Once again the elite powers that be have put the burden of their mistakes and mismanagement on us, our children, our grand children and on and on. By the way, have we started talking about operating costs yet?

  • If it’s going to cost $2 billion to complete the rail to Ala Moana and $1.55 billion (return to Feds) to stop at Middle Street, then it probably would be prudent to go to Ala Moana. That would satisfy the Feds and will enable Hawaii to obtain future funding. It also would ensure a bigger ridership.

    The problem is can the City actually build to Ala Moana with that $2 billion? Does anybody really have confidence that the City won’t need to increase the cost more to finish the project? They don’t exactly have a good track record, do they?

  • How come no one ever listened to me when I said years before the rail was even started that it would cost 8-10 billion $$$$$$$$$$$$”s to build it. That low estimate was to make the rail look cheap to build. It’s going to be close to 10billion when it’s complete because all the areas the rail is being build now are the easy construction sites. The hard work is coming and most of the money will be spent down town.

  • Did the FTA really say rail cannot stop at Middle Street? How do we know Caldwell didn’t just make that up to further shove this bankrupting rail down our throats. My boss does this all the time! He makes like the boss above him made the decision when it was his all along. I want to see FTA put it in writing!

    • It is in writing. It is the full final grant agreement between the city and the FTA. The fed’s agreed to fund $1.5 billion of the $5.2 billion project submitted by the City for a 20-mile route from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center. The fed’s contribution is contingent upon completing the route all the way to Ala Moana. The city can stop the project at Middle Street, but that would be a breach of the full final funding agreement and most likely would result in the cutting off all further funding support and a demand for return of the $250 million in FTA money already received by the City.

      • Yeah the Feds want their stop next to the federal building for bragging rights even though 99% of the employees that work there will still be DRIVING. Bet on it!

    • Why wouldn’t you want to have the plan BEFORE the legislature convenes?

      That’s because you want kirk to be re-elected without having to actually come up with a plan.

  • To go from Middle street to Ala Moana, the most expensive real estate of the project, will probably cost at least $8 billion. That’s why they built it from the outside in. They figured by this point, it will be beyond the quitting point, no matter what the cost to finish it.

  • This is an ugly and pricey symptom of a state with one party rule. Keep voting for dems, they haven’t sucked all of the wealth out of the state yet but they are well on their way.

    • Well, no, that’s not why they started in Kapolei. The train will begin running when the guideway from E. Kapolei to Aloha Stadium is complete. But the train requires a operations and maintenance facility before it can begin operating. The only place where there was 40-plus acres of land for the facility was in Waipahu. If you think the price is high now, imagine purchasing that much real estate in urban Honolulu. That’s why it was built from West to East.

  • ..”on the hook” is not clear as to exactly what would happen if rail does not at least make it to Aloha Tower. HART must be clear and concise as to their discussions with the FTA, or it will only sound like “more of the same”. And what are the detailed proposals that were made to the FTA?

    • The public needs to be apprised of the details of what was discussed, what proposals were made by our delegation, and if the FTA proposed possible alternatives for further consideration.

      • Maybe Caldwell can tell us some more lies. He was shut down by the Council, told by Luke and Tokuda not to come back to the State with his tin cup, and now put in his place by the feds. This guy needs to be shut down hard by the voters. If not, everyone better get out your wallets. Time to pay for all of Kirk’s lies, promises and mismanagement.

  • Some people are forgetting or ignoring the fact the the Feds have given us only 250 million of the promised 1.55 billion grant so far. That means that by defying the FTA, we will pay back 250 million plus some penalty. By defying means halting completely, or at Middle Street, or tearing it down. Makes sense to reimburse FTA the small amount.

  • Do you know or do you care? We all have been scammed by former Mayor Mufi Hannemann and his then Managing Director who knows more than he is saying about the beginning of the rail project. At that time, Mayor Hannemann promised all of us that with Federal, State and City governments’ funds completing rail was a no brainer. In 2004 Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, who was running against Mufi for Mayor of Honolulu, tried to enlighten the citizens that Mufi was hiding other more financially reasonable suggestions for mass movement of people. The current Mayor is obsessed on squeezing Oahu’s citizens for the money shortfall. Why isn’t Mayor Caldwell revealing what was hidden from us in 2004 that may solve rail’s failures today? The Feds refuse to give their billion and a half dollars if we don’t complete rail as Mufi said was a no brainer. Why isn’t State government and citizens holding former Mayor Mufi Hannemann and his former Managing Director Caldwell responsible? Will we reward lies with another term as 2016 Mayor? Shame on them in 2004, will shame on us in 2016?

    • The original purpose for the rail was to provide Mass transit for the West and Central Oahu for less than $3 Billion as proposed by Mufi.

      Mass transit from Central and West Oahu UH Manoa, Kaneohe, Waikiki and beyond is feasible for under $4 Billion. Don’t need the Feds $1.55 Billion nor their ultimatum to build to Aloha Tower.

      The practical option is to convert the rail guide way to a 2-lane, HOV(2) Reversible Expressway (no toll) from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium for less than $4 Billion already collected via GET. The two-lane reversible can be used for single passenger vehicles during non-peak hours. Tampa has built a Reversible Express Lane for $42 million per mile in year 2006, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkM-MC3N-oY. The Tampa elevated structure is built similar to the Oahu Rail guide way (see typical cross section for both structures).

      The reversible expressway can carry up to 17,000 commuters per hour (200 express buses and 3800 vehicles per hour) versus 3,000 RAIL commuters per hour. The express buses can continue on to Kaneohe, UH Manoa, Waikiki and beyond. . New buses are 80% Federally funded and would cost the city $40 million for 200 new buses. HART plans to purchase 80 rail cars at $2.0 million (Oahu taxpayer funded) each for $160 million.

      Eliminate all rail related costs to keep the project cost under $4 Billion.

  • Can anyone post the names of all the Mayors and councilmembers who voted for rail? I can think of Mufi, Carlisle, Kirk, Martin, Harimoto, Fukunaga, Pine…who am I missing?

    • NESTER GARCIA, AND BRANDEN ELEPHANTE,ROMY CACHOLA,ETC. ETC. ETC. ALL OF THE CITY COUNCIL IN 2008 EXCEPT FOR TOM BERG WHO WITH BEN CAYETANO WAS BLACKBALLED BY PRP’S MILLIONS.

  • You get what you pay for. If you really want something, you pay a premium. Majority of posters here oppose rail and express their anger. Those that support it, sit back and chuckle at the comments. No posts necessary.

    • Yeah, but to “sit back and chuckle at the comments” doesn’t raise any money does it? We all (pro and con rail) have already paid $6 billion dollars for this incomplete rail – that is NOT FUNNY!

  • So…quit trying to line the pockets of your cronies and make the rail happen within your budget, complete what was promised, and do your best with what you have.

  • This was predictable. The Fed money was contingent on the promise that the entire system would be built. Screw-ups, corruption, bad planning and management led to this mess. I predict Caldwell will lose his job and he can thank the rail disaster for it. I just hope they can somehow finish the project so that the hundreds of millions of our money don’t get flushed down the toilet. Damn you, Mufi, Peter, and Kirk!

    • The 250 million or so of Fed money already given us is a small price to pay for stopping at Middle Street or halting the project completely. We don’t have the money, we won’t tolerate extending the GET. HART and the mayor are despised. So is the council except for Ann Kobayashi who is against spending more money on this insane project. Vote crooked Kirk and his compatriots out in November.

  • everyone…us taxpayers..bend over again….do you see a light at the end of the tunnel….very dim..just blinking until the LEGIS and GOV pass another GET increase on us in 2017… no stay bend over too long…you get cramps and more…lol

  • I like that picture – what is that huge curving concrete structure? Oh, that’s part of the Rail that was never built due to incompetent government officials and lots of brainless Hawaii people. Even third world countries have built plenty of rail transit systems and subways. Lesson to be learned – Do NOT ever again let Hawaii government build or even buy anything because it will end up costing much more and will end up unfinished and an eyesore.

  • The greatest financial blunder for our city as well as our state. Big time money loss and bigger money loss if it is continued.

    Government is out of hand at all levels.

    Voting by electronic apparatus can be rigged and has been rigged. Hard to prove because of how this electronic apparatus that takes in the votes work. Ever wonder if the rigging affected Cayetano from not being elected. Bernie Sanders a victim of this too according to those who know.

    Now that Inouye is gone our Jr. appointed people to Washington has little clout.

  • Rep. Sylvia Luke, House Finance Chair is quoted in the article, how the facts were not provided to the Legislature and that “The City has lost a lot of credibility with the Legislature”!

    • Any suggestion that the Democrats running the City and the Democrats running the State have not been coordinated on this farce is silly. This mess does illustrate how contemptuous the Democrats are of the public. They believe they can do anything and stay in power. Probably true.

      • It’s absolutely true and democrat politicians know it. As long as the dumbed down democrat base has unlimited reality TV, TMZ and fast food you can pretty much do anything you want to them. They will reliably vote against their self interest time after time. So you end up with Mufi’s and Kirk’s and Schatz’s and Barry’s. Promises are made but problems never get solved.

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