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City Council grills HART on spending money for coloring books

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

LAST UPDATED: 10:26 p.m. HST, Mar 21, 2012


Members of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit got grilled by City Council members today on  points ranging from the use of federal dollars for coloring books  to the wisdom of giving preliminary approval for the sale of bonds they may choose to reject later.

After several hours of verbal skirmishing, however, Council members voted to advance:

>> Bill 31, which OKs a $22.8 million operating budget for the agency as well as the transfer of a forecasted $213 million in general excise tax revenues that will be used for future project costs.

>> Bill 32, which approves $491.6 million in capital improvements for  what eventually is to be a  the $5.27 billion rail project expected to run from East Kapolei to the Ala Moana area.

>> Bill 33,  which authorizes the sale of general obligation bonds for the transit project of an undetermined amount.


Councilman Tom Berg questioned the production of coloring books, glossy newsletters and other "trinkets" designed to market the rail project.

"This is pure propaganda in my opinion, pure propaganda," Berg said, adding that he  thinks the items are "filled with misinformation."

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Wazdat wrote:
this whole rail issue is one big CORRUPTION and taxpayer propaganda. enough is enough. VOTE out ALL incumbent DONKEYS and vote BEN for mayor to try and fix this BROKEN city.
on March 21,2012 | 11:11PM
hoku_kai wrote:
Rail is not a corruption. It's a sound investment in our future. It provides thousands of working families a better quality of life.
on March 22,2012 | 02:37AM
JoJo14 wrote:
That's right hoku_kai! Better quality of life in the future - and jobs now. Rail is so needed.
on March 22,2012 | 05:09AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
The HART crooks continue the biggest rip off in hawaii history.
on March 21,2012 | 11:12PM
hoku_kai wrote:
Crooks? They are all public servants who are volunteering to serve on the HART board.
on March 22,2012 | 02:37AM
LAX2HNL wrote:
this project will go down in hawaii history as its biggest failure ever. auwe HART!
on March 21,2012 | 11:17PM
hoku_kai wrote:
Rail will transform Honolulu and create the economic stimulus we need. Jobs, opportunity, revenue.
on March 22,2012 | 02:39AM
localguy wrote:
If you think HART is wasting your tax dollars now, you haven't seen anything yet. This is just the tip of the iceberg in their fraud, waste and abuse mandate. HART members are all bureaucrats at heart, meaning they are not degree holding professionals in their assigned job, already feel they are underpaid, would like 4X as much money, and want other bennies, all at taxpayer's expense. Why? It's what they do, waste you hard earned tax dollars. Give us a break!
on March 22,2012 | 12:32AM
rsgea wrote:
Bill 33 is a part of the money-grabbing scheme HART and the Mayor's office is desperately executing. It's clear that the anticipate NOT GETTING THE $1.55 BILLION FROM THE FTA that they've been in essence falsly sayng "It's in the bag". With chances of getting FTA funds dwindling by the day, the Mayor's office started in October of 2011 by secretly removing the cap on the debt-limit guideline as it applies to Rail. Then the Mayor started lobbying the Council to allow HART to use the $450-million line of credit earmarked for sewer and water projects, to shore up Rail's weak financial plan. Also, the Mayor is trying to gain access to the maintenance fund for TheBus and HandiVan. Looks like the "moon falling down to Earth" event Mayor facetiously mentioned is about to happen.... for Rail, anyway.
on March 22,2012 | 01:33AM
rsgea wrote:
And, Mayor's spokeswoman, Ms. Kim McCoy's revealing HART's and Mayors "contingency plans" in the event the moon does come crashing down, shows that they are well aware that Honolulu's chances of getting any FTA funds is looking bleak. Even Kirk Caldwell realizes this and that is why he has decided to PUNT. Rather than be part of those responsible for this horrendously bad project, Mr. Caldwell is now saying: "Let the public decide. Lets put the Rail question on the 2012 ballot." PUNT.
on March 22,2012 | 01:47AM
rsgea wrote:
The Mayor's contingency plans includes other money-grabbing schems, but the most incredible suggestion was to CUT BACK ON THE RAIL ROUTE. Can you imagine the Rail route ending in Waipahu? or Pearl Harbor? The planned route to Ala Moana Center was already woefully inadequate because it didn't reach UH Manoa or Waikiki. To cut it further would be ludicrous.... rendering the entire project useless.... LIKE A BRIDGE THAT DOESN'T EVEN REACH THE OTHER SIDE.
on March 22,2012 | 01:50AM
hoku_kai wrote:
Nonsense. The rail will connect Kapolei and Honolulu and all the towns in between. H1 is the most congested highway in the country. Rail will provide people an alternative to sitting in unbearable traffic, every morning and every night.
on March 22,2012 | 02:41AM
hoku_kai wrote:
Why? The people already voted. And they said YES to rail.
on March 22,2012 | 02:39AM
SandBar wrote:
Obviously, you're part of the stepped up pro-rail propaganda the Mayor and HART set out to do. If we're doing the rail, do it! If not, then stop the spending now!!!. Either way, please stop wasting millions of $$$ on useless propaganda.
on March 22,2012 | 05:14AM
JoJo14 wrote:
This is part of the process of spending money wisely. This takes advantage of the time-value of money and spends it now, while the money is still relatively cheap. If this was built years ago, it would have cost 20% of the current cost. Let's built it now before the cost of money goes up even more. The need for mobility options is not going away.
on March 22,2012 | 05:14AM
willman wrote:
Vote for Ben Cayetano. The rail is a big sham and will only benefit a few. How can Hawaii operate a rail system when our government cannot fix the roads.To think that the rail will help our economy is ridiculous.
on March 22,2012 | 05:36AM
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