Monday, November 30, 2015         


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Leave no stone unturned before passing rail's point of no return


I was invited to join the group that filed a lawsuit to stop the rail project.

While I share some of the concerns expressed by them, I decided against joining them, because essentially, I am not anti-rail, and I believe some rail options are important to Hawaii's future.

I need to state that I have not been involved in the rail process, and don't have a monetary interest, as attorney or consultant.

But because of the enormity of the project and my desire to see our citizens and taxpayers, now and into the future, get the best deal possible, I can no longer remain silent.

Whenever we have a project, we use a bidding process to ensure we get the best price and the best arrangement to complete the project. We issue an RFP — a request for proposal — clearly setting forth the details to require compliance.

The integrity of this bidding process is very important.

In this current rail project, there are many questions. The chosen bidder did not have a license at the time of bid, therefore did not comply with the RFP.

Also, the penalty assessed did not comply with existing statutes, and the bid price did not appear to cover the true cost of the project.

If you were seeking to do a project, you ought to be concerned about:

1) Getting a fair price, not one doctored to appear low.

2) The past performance of the party on a similar situation in other places.

3) The viability of the party to see the project through, which would include the support or non-support of related companies.

All of these concerns now exist with this rail project. This raises many questions about the chosen party's ability to complete the project, from start to finish.

We are dangerously close to the point of no return, but there is still time to rethink and consider where we are.

The public cannot spend time analyzing the details of the bid from various contractors to determine who might offer the best price or deliver the best train. But the public has every right to expect that the city and the Honolulu Rapid Transportation Authority have left no stone unturned to ensure that the right, the best decision is made so that taxpayers' dollars are spent wisely.

The public has a right to expect the city and HART to take every precaution to ensure that rail does not just get started, but that it is completed on time and on budget.

I am getting on in years so rail is not for me — rather, it is for our children and grandchildren.

Those who are minding the store now need to ask themselves if they are doing the right thing by them and take another close look at the options.

The city and HART's best assurance of delivering a world-class rail system is to entrust the task to a company with a proven track record. That is the prediction of future success. Only then will people breathe easier — and travel better.

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