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Forum on impact of rail on city services today

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 02:32 a.m. HST, Jun 29, 2013

Honolulu Authority for Rapid TransportationScaling down the 21 stations along Hono­lulu's 20-mile rail line, as well as standardizing features and fixtures, will save about $100 million, the city's rail chief said Tuesday. This model of the West Loch station was unveiled at the news conference where the savings in design and building costs were announced.

A forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Honolulu on the impact of Honolulu’s rail system on city services and tax rates will be held today,  at 10 a.m. at Washington Middle School.

Panelists are Council member Ann Kobayashi, chairwoman of the council budget committee; Matthew Lynch, who heads the effort to remake Kamalii park; Natalie Iwasa, CPA and city council activist; and Richard Ubersax, project analyst for a large industrial company.

The forum will be held in the school cafeteria, King Street at Punahou. Parking is free.







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Pukele wrote:
The annual operating cost for rail (not bus or Handy Van) will be approximately 100 million dollars. One third of this cost will need to be paid by the riders causing a bus fare increase. The other two-thirds will be paid by our property taxes, forever. It is time to let the taxpayers on Oahu know about these costs.
on June 28,2013 | 07:04PM
inlanikai wrote:
Absolutely. This double-speak of Bus costs will go down and will pay for the shortfall in Rail is wishful thinking. You will have more wheels rolling in total (Bus and Rail) and more people being moved by public transportation (that's the who idea, right?). Anyone who thinks the O&M Rail shortfall will not cause an increase in funding by the city, and by extension taxes of various kinds on the community, is either disillusion or a politician. My prediction: The 0.5% GET we have now to support the construction will stay in place after all the construction bills are paid and used to fund O&M costs. Then, within 3 years of Rail starting operation, the percentage will increase. Let the debate begin!
on June 29,2013 | 02:45AM
what wrote:
Even if you charge $15 to ride the rail, it will still not pay for itself. The people of Oahu have NO IDEA how deep a hole these bozo lawmakers have gotten us into.
on June 29,2013 | 03:14AM
kahuku01 wrote:
Yes, as you've mentioned, "even if they charged $15 to ride, it will not pay for itself," for O&M. Let's say, topping the fee at $15 will surely discourage people from riding the train, especially for those who can't afford to own a car and have been riding the bus to and from work for years. Lowering the train fee to lure train ridership will even put the city into deeper financial burden for O&M rail system. Either way, charging $15 or less, will not be enough to cover the O&M. Taxpayers must be aware, that the city and state elected officials could rescind and extend the mandated 1/2% GET surcharge expiration date, so that they would be able to cover the O&M cost or increase other taxes (property, gas, sales, import, commodity.) For years, the city and state elected and appointed officials have secured funds to build parks, highways/roads, facilities, vehicles and equipment but are unable to perform the required maintenance until funds become available after months or years of waiting. In the meantime, the taxpayers suffer, although the taxpayers are the very ones that do pay for all the O&M. The "juggling bill" will have to be voted on by council members, taking money from one city source and transfer it to another city source, so O$M funds are available. What a way to run a government. The carriage before the horse.
on June 29,2013 | 06:00AM
false wrote:
And who didn't see this property tax liability coming is just plain unconscious. Another screw turns in the public base. Hawaiians know the game well and the consequences. Tax the people off the land and then sell it to the highest bidder. Welcome to the club the colonized. And you don't even smell it coming. Good for you rail people. You earned it. Just like all the Green initiatives which will only cost more in the long term and create bigger liabilities.
on June 29,2013 | 08:41AM
ShibaiDakine wrote:
The simple fact of the matter is that public transportation (TheBus/Handi Van) already has a major impact on city services. For more than a decade public transportation costs have been subsidized to keep the costs to the passengers artificially low. From FY 2000 through 2012 public transportation expenses were $2.3 billion. The revenue from the fare box was $531 million, resulting in a loss of $1.77 billion. The $1.77 billion loss was paid for out of other funds, the bulk of which, approximately $1 billion, came from the Highway Fund. If my memory serves me correct, the EIS for TheRail assumes it will recover 35% of its O&M costs from the fare box. It is preposterous to assume such given the historical fact that for the past 12 years public transportation collected a mere 23% of its costs from the paying passengers. Of the three costliest services, sewers and waste being the other two, public transportation is the least effective at paying for itself. With the advent of TheRail added to the mix, and the unwillingness of the city/county government to raise the transportation fares, there is little doubt that further revenue from other funds will be necessary to provide the basic services in the future. Overlying all of this, just like the state, is the underfunded post retirement health benefits for the city/county employees, which has yet to be adequately addressed by the current leadership.
on June 29,2013 | 03:09AM
localtodamax808 wrote:
Wow...awesome panelists.....NOT!!!!
on June 29,2013 | 03:28AM
wondermn1 wrote:
Mark my words that if the RAIL AND HART IS NOT STOPPED our taxes and fees will skyrocket and add that to the cost of health insurance at 1450.00 per month ( family plan) and the electric rates at 30 to 40 cents per kilowatt hour and then we have the water cost with the sewer rates that are more than the water, I would guess that most people will be priced out of paradise and will eventually have to move to the mainland USA or live in the poverty level as they grow older. Shame on you City Council and shame on you Mayor. WAKE UP HONOLULU. PLEASE STOP THE RAIL IN ITS TRACKS
on June 29,2013 | 04:10AM
atilter wrote:
MARK! MARK! MARK! MARK! MARK!!!!
on June 29,2013 | 11:18AM
Kapcity wrote:
Just build it already...
on June 29,2013 | 04:49AM
inlanikai wrote:
Fine. Start saving now to pay for its operation. Once they got it going, they will hit us up again to extend the system and build another line, keep the GET surcharge in place and look for other ways to funnel cash into the city's coffers. Rail will become a fiscal sink hole.
on June 29,2013 | 05:56AM
serious wrote:
I've blogged this before, but NJ and FL both turned down federal money for rail systems because the yearly maintenance was unsustainable----but, they were Republican governors. Only CA and HI took the bait--both of course, tax and spend D's!!!!
on June 29,2013 | 09:49AM
kiragirl wrote:
Questions that should be asked: How much are property taxes paying for public transportation now and if rail will increase that amount? If no increase, then great. But if there is an increase, shame on our council members for allowing rail to proceed.
on June 29,2013 | 06:00AM
atilter wrote:
do you think that any politician here in this state's political environment will ask a suicidal question like that? how do you think they get their retirement perks???
on June 29,2013 | 11:17AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Wow, Star-Advertiser!

Don't you think that waiting until the day of the event and announcing it in tiny print, just hours before it occurs is really "informing the public?"

Burying stories like this while trumpeting stories like yesterday's giant headline with associated photo about rail funding passing through a particular committee really shows your bias. Please strive for balance and informing the public instead of propaganda and advocacy.


on June 29,2013 | 07:45AM
atilter wrote:
expect anything different???
on June 29,2013 | 11:13AM
samidunn wrote:
But think of all the good union jobs that will be created. The great retirement they all will get. And how they will owe it all to the state & city governments. Just think of the new voting block it will create. Don't worry about the home owners or taxpayers they can afford it,
on June 29,2013 | 10:13AM
atilter wrote:
a statistical question_what percent of ALL union members ACTUALLY PAY PROPERTY TAXES, DIRECTLY? anyone have an answer??
on June 29,2013 | 11:11AM
atilter wrote:
rail impact on honolulu? read the story about the looming BART strike in no. cal!!!
on June 29,2013 | 12:23PM
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