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Federal funds for rail plan sealed in signing ceremony

The sense of fulfillment among officials is muted by the death of the man who pushed the project

By John Yaukey / Special to the Star-Advertiser

LAST UPDATED: 03:43 a.m. HST, Dec 21, 2012

WASHINGTON » Hawaii received a long-awaited $1.55 billion check from the U.S. Department of Transportation Wednesday, a major milestone in paying for a commuter rail line that is the largest public works project in Hawaii history meant to relieve some of the vexing congestion along the H-1 freeway.

"I'm proud today to seal the deal," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said during a signing ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

But the deal was bittersweet.

On Monday, the project's shepherd for so many years, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, died in Washington, capping one of the most celebrated careers in American public service.

His loss was central to the signing ceremony.

Like all the speakers there, LaHood paused to remember Inouye.

"Sen. Daniel Inouye's life has always been about the people of Hawaii — never about him," he said.

The signing capped a long, twisted and politically charged debate that eventually bled into Hono­lulu's last mayoral race.

At the core were concerns that the 20-mile line will traverse Native Hawaiian burial grounds, is too costly, and the city started it too soon.

Outgoing Mayor Peter Carlisle staked considerable political capital backing the project, and was ultimately ousted.

Still, Carlisle was present at Wednesday's signing, sporting a lei and a proud smile. He spoke not of himself in any way, but only of the project's champion for decades, Inouye.

"This is a fitting legacy for a remarkable man," Carlisle said during a short, but heartfelt statement.

It took years for the city to secure the $1.55 billion in federal funding, and in doing so it cleared one of the most significant hurdles to paying for the $5.26 billion rail system.

The rail line will run from Kapolei to Ala Moana Center, and is expected to be completed by 2019. Oahu residents and visitors have been paying a half-percent general excise tax surcharge for rail since 2007, and that surcharge is providing the bulk of the rail funding.

The surcharge is expected to generate a total of $3.29 billion from fiscal year 2010 to 2023.

Despite the signing of the federal funding deal, some of the sticky issues remain unresolved, although they are in the process of being worked out.

The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the State Historic Preservation Division should not have allowed the city to begin work on the rail project until the city completed an archaeological survey along the entire proposed route.

That is under way.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation estimates the delay in construction caused by the ruling will cost an extra $64 million to $95 million. But the city maintains the overall cost of the project is not expected to increase.

The city has been surveying the rail route in sections, and experts agree that burials are most likely to be found in urban Hono­lulu.

The survey is not expected to be completed until early next year, and the city said the halt in construction will likely delay the rail project by nine months to a year. Each month of delay will cost an extra $7 million to $10 million.

But a deal that some thought would die in bureaucracy was inked Wednesday with all the fanfare of Washington: souvenir pens, photo ops and smiles all around.

Yet the focus was on the empty 20-foot mahogany table in the room where the Senate Appropriations Committee met.

This was Inouye's study.

Brass nameplates adorn each place set.

No one sat during the ceremony. But the old leather chair reserved for Inouye bore a lei draped solemnly over its back.

On the table rested a silent gavel at 45 degrees on its hammer stand. In front was a vase of white roses, now an omnipresent sight throughout the Capitol, wherever the clack of Ino­uye's old leather shoes were heard on century-old marble.

A simple contract signing became one of the many memorials for Dan Inouye.

"This moment is an honor and a tribute to a person who has been great for the people of Hawaii and America," said U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, speaking of his lifelong friend and colleague.

Today, Inouye will lie in state in the Capitol's Rotunda.

His colleagues were torn between their elation at the success of the rail project and their sense of loss.

Hawaii's Democratic Sen.-elect Mazie Hirono gazed at Inouye's empty chair, gathered herself, and said, "This is a huge milestone for this project."

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what wrote:
It's saddens me to no end to see how misguided our leaders are. They continue to view the train as a solution or alternative to traffic congestion. They are so very wrong. Nothing improves traffic congestion like more highway, and there are things that can be done to upgrade our highway infrastructure that continue to get ignored by our so-called "leaders". The quality of life in Honolulu is fast degrading and its future is damaged forever by these inept leaders. Don't build an "alternative" to the problem for billions of dollar when you can fix the original problem with that money by expanding and improving the highway infrastrucutre! Our Dept of Transporation are asleep at the wheel and have done NOTHING for decades!
on December 20,2012 | 12:38AM
what wrote:
This train is a wreck. When originally planned, it was going to go to Univ of Hawaii at Manoa, which was good. It was going to go to Hawaii, one of the most densely populated places in the world. That was a good idea. Now we are stuck paying an astronomically ridiculous price for a poorly planned 19th century train that few will ride. The fares will cover less than 33% of its electricity bill by the city's own estimates. The rest of the electricity bill will push city finances over the cliff.
on December 20,2012 | 12:41AM
what wrote:
Correction to typo: I meant to say "Waikiki, one of the most densely populated places in the world."
on December 20,2012 | 12:43AM
allie wrote:
i work there..believe me it is increasingly dangerous at night
on December 20,2012 | 05:32AM
OldDiver wrote:
And the anti rail nonsense continues. Time to come up with better material, at least something that is true.
on December 20,2012 | 05:50AM
palika wrote:
Yes, I agree OldDiver. Put these tired complaints and arguments to bed; no sense arguing the world is flat anymore. There are many more pressing issues to come, other than rail. One is the lack of Congressional seniority which will hurt Hawaii with less federal funding to come. We will be thanking the good Sen. Inouye for all he has done for us, including securing $1.55 billion in rail funding.
on December 20,2012 | 06:46AM
wiliki wrote:
It was expected... the only way to avoid it would have been for him to live longer....
on December 20,2012 | 10:14AM
ichiban wrote:
You're right. Now with Sen. Inouye gone and no seniority in Congress are we going to get any more funding to the $5 billion that's still needed for the rail? Think the taxpayers of Hawaii can handle the $5 billion more in revenue needed for the completion of rail? There's going to be hell to pay and nothing to shoe for it. Be careful of what you ask for, it can turn and bite you.
on December 20,2012 | 01:18PM
wiliki wrote:
At the present time, there is no earmark system in Congress... That's OK because they haven't been able to agree on legislation.
on December 20,2012 | 03:03PM
mudsprkt1 wrote:
Mahalo OldDiver.
on December 20,2012 | 09:02AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
I meant to say with NOT witness, dam spell check.
on December 20,2012 | 07:10AM
MalamaKaAina wrote:
10 Billion Hawaii taxpayer dollars........somebody has got to pay!
on December 20,2012 | 12:49AM
JayDeeL wrote:
I'm sorry. How did we get to 10 billion? That probably is a retorical question, as I doubt hard facts will support an honest answer. The "somebody has got to pay" as in somebody ELSE has got to pay, is one of the reasons we are graduating law students by the thousands. When all else fails: tie it up in litigation! That usually works.
on December 20,2012 | 03:03AM
localguy wrote:
JayDeeL - Tract record of government projects in the Nei lean towards this as the true, final cost of our rail. Remember, no rail project in any state has ever been built completely on time and on/under budget. We are no better. Remember the Kinau Street turn lane fiasco. Months past completion date, over budget as usual.
on December 20,2012 | 05:11AM
OldDiver wrote:
Actually the anti rail candidate was falsely telling people the cost of rail as stated by the EIS Linda Lingle manipulated would be $9 billion. What he didn't tell you is that included the cost of running and operating the bus and handivan through the year 2030.
on December 20,2012 | 07:08AM
wiliki wrote:
This is a form of lying.....
on December 20,2012 | 10:15AM
localguy wrote:
OldDiver - You know rail will not be built 100% on time and on or below budget in the Nei. Already rail incompetence has put a delay into the completion unless the contractors can work faster at no extra cost to taxpayers. Do you really, honestly believe what you hear from HART and Grabby Boy about how it can be done in the Nei? Remember the Kinau street turn lane being months past completion time and over budget. A simple turn lane and we could not do it on right.
on December 20,2012 | 11:04AM
wiliki wrote:
Is anything in life perfect... But so far we are within budget so there is nothing to complain about.
on December 20,2012 | 03:02PM
DPK wrote:
I wonder about the math. The article says $60-$90 million in delay fees, but the total budget figure doesn't change. Perhaps HART will cut out the bathroom for each station.
on December 20,2012 | 11:52AM
aomohoa wrote:
Bathrooms are an unnecessary expense if the the trains come every few minutes. It is only something for the homeless to trash. They don't have bathrooms at the bus stations.
on December 20,2012 | 05:40PM
Kuniarr wrote:
Really, OD, wiliki you guys are in denial to the fact that

(1) there is no $1.55 billion check from the FTA yet, only an Agreement was signed.

(2) The GET surcharge collection is far short of target at only 25% reached after 6 years of collection. Collection in the last 5 quarters since the 2nd quarter of 2011 had been going down from $49.80 million in the Q2 of 2011 to $46.99 in the Q2 of 2012.

And the silence of HART on what the Q3 2012 collection was is deafening. Which means we would never know until HART publishes Q4 2012 collection in the last week of January - because the Q4 2012 collection would certainly be substantial from spending during the Holiday season.
on December 20,2012 | 12:39PM
wiliki wrote:
Total GET revenues are well withing expectation. And you have a problem if you think that the money wont be coming.... It's in the bank.
on December 20,2012 | 03:00PM
mudsprkt1 wrote:
Funny, sometimes how Individuals become Math Wizards overnight. I was kind of wondering how $10 Billion is the picture, hhmmmm. Now watch, with this said, More Math Wizards are gonna jump out of the wood work and really crank down on this....LOL....How coming up with another solution to our traffic problem. And don't say more buses, or more roadways. Been there, done that as the old saying goes....
on December 20,2012 | 09:24AM
wondermn1 wrote:
Its a total WASTE of our hard earned federal TAX dollars and should be stopped in its TRACKS. CALL IT FOR WHAT IT IS- A BOONDOGGLE RIPOFF OF AMERICAS TAX MONEY
on December 20,2012 | 08:07AM
allie wrote:
well said...the bad train is the a nail in the coffin of the state
on December 20,2012 | 05:32AM
Wazdat wrote:
AGREE. A train to a mall will NOT HELP TRAFFIC.
on December 20,2012 | 05:36AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
What, Please move to a state witness competent leaders. Thank You.
on December 20,2012 | 07:09AM
mcc wrote:
Go to North Korea.
on December 20,2012 | 04:46PM
Anonymous wrote:
what, It's actually been proven that adding new highways or lanes to highways does nothing to improve congestion. It simply attracts more drivers and congestion remains. http://daily.sightline.org/2011/12/14/study-more-roads-more-traffic/ On the other hand, while rail transit will NEVER eliminate congestion, it most certainly does help! In Portland Oregon in 2011 according to the National Transit Database for 2011, their transit provider Trimet moved 215,384,677 passenger miles by light rail train and 219,728,219 passenger miles by bus; essentially half & half. According to the Texas Transportation Institute, one of this country's leading experts on congestion, if Portland shut down Trimet, drivers would encounter an extra 5.581 million hours in delays and they would incur an extra $114 Million in cost due to wasted fuel and lost productivity. And light rail accounts for half of those numbers!
on December 20,2012 | 11:09AM
Paloha99 wrote:
You're deluded to think building more highways is going to relieve congestion. Where in the World is more highways proven to relieve traffic...where? Every road I've seen is always congested at peak times. Rail offers an alternative to cars, reduces the carbon footprint, reduces fuel consumption and dependency, pulls less demand for fuel, gets cars off the roads, and allows people to be less stressed from driving. Explain to the masses what does more highways offer.
on December 20,2012 | 06:31PM
Ldub20_Owl316 wrote:
This is a major waste of money. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. The rail is a waste!
on December 20,2012 | 12:59AM
aukai808 wrote:
Studies show that cities with large, well-established rail systems have significantly higher per capita transit ridership, lower average per capita vehicle ownership and annual mileage, less traffic congestion, lower traffic death rates, lower consumer expenditures on transportation, and higher transit service cost recovery than otherwise comparable cities with less or no rail transit service. This indicates that rail transit systems provide economic, social and environmental benefits, and these benefits tend to increase as a system expands and matures. I'm pretty sure this is why we're building rail, in addition to the fact that more people want it than don't.
on December 20,2012 | 10:48AM
localguy wrote:
aukai808 - Rail minions would also have us believe rail will eliminate those without jobs, eliminate poverty, increase the populace IQ, save the earth and eliminate ED. Do you really believe all this? Have you ever left the Nei and see the real world? Rail works best in large urban cities like Tokyo, New York, London. Rail in the Nei is hardly a fair comparison when it will only have one route.
on December 20,2012 | 11:07AM
DPK wrote:
aukai808: Atlanta has a 30 year old heavy rail system serving the entire metro which is falling apart because of a lack of ridership. They continue to ask for additional taxes, which was soundly defeated in the last election. Traffic in Atlanta was never alleviated by rail and indeed became worse. Now the system is cutting back the schedule while the homeless ride it endlessly. Please name your "studies"source.
on December 20,2012 | 11:58AM
Anonymous wrote:
DPK, MARTA is facing cuts because the State Legislature failed to lift the maximum amount of money they're allowed to spend on operations; not for any other reason. And the tax increase that was just defeated was for future expansions of MARTA, both the heavy rail and possible light rail/Streetcars. Next, rail will never alleviate congestion, but building more roads doesn't alleviate congestion either. On the other hand, according to the Texas Transportation Institute, if MARTA went away (both buses & rail) drivers in Atlanta would see an extra 8.589 million hours a year in delays and rail accounts for about 2/3rds of that total. Rail also moves more people, than the buses. And it's not the homeless either. The homeless would only be counted once when they enter the system. The average daily ridership is 227,300. Atlanta's population is only 420,000, so that would mean that half the city is homeless. NOT! And MARTA rail moves more people further than the buses and at less cost. In 2011 MARTA moved 76,228,482 rides a total of 487,589,185 passenger miles at a cost of $177,512,238. The buses moved 63,104,604 rides a total of 236,152,750 passenger miles at a cost of $212,834,136.
on December 21,2012 | 07:44PM
aomohoa wrote:
They also have a much higher popular and are certainly not paradise.
on December 20,2012 | 02:57PM
false wrote:
aomohoa: Atlanta has a much larger population, but the rail system is much more extensive. It has 338 rail cars, 38 stations and about 64 miles of track. All of this and it is not keeping its head above water. How can anyone seriously expect Honolulu's silly one line system from Kapolei to the mall to help anyone besides developers.
on December 20,2012 | 08:23PM
CouncilmanBerg wrote:
Watch the movie THE STING and the movie STEPFORD WIVES- put two and two together- the big con job orchestrated upon folks brainwashed, duped, lied to, deceived, swindled- GOT GRAFT? The biggest con job mind control government fleece job of all time.....
on December 20,2012 | 01:03AM
Wazdat wrote:
AGREE..this is what Oahu DESERVES.. If you drive in H1 traffic you thank thank your elected leaders for doing NOTHING to help traffic.
on December 20,2012 | 05:38AM
OldDiver wrote:
The biggest con job got just voted out of office.
on December 20,2012 | 05:51AM
Wazdat wrote:
What are you talking about ? If all you want are RUBBER STAMPERS then you are a FOOL..
on December 20,2012 | 06:00AM
OldDiver wrote:
I want an honest rubber stamp.
on December 20,2012 | 07:08AM
MKN wrote:
Well you'll never find that in any politician. They're all corrupt to some extent. If you don't believe that, I have a bridge that I can sell you. LOL!
on December 20,2012 | 09:03AM
wiliki wrote:
Baloney.... Inouye is a good example of an honest politician...
on December 20,2012 | 10:17AM
wondermn1 wrote:
The entire RAIL project is built on Lies and deception. First 3 Billion and it went to many places, Then 5.3 Billion and it goes from nowhere to a shopping center dominated by toursts from Japan. Then is was a TRAFFIC RELIEF program to alliviate all of oahu's traffic congestion. ( Opps, we founed out that it didn't) Then it was a JOBS program supposed to employ 10,000 people . (Oops, we found out it wouldn't) Then it turned into a TOD program to allow developers to bypass regulations and build high density condos {slums and ghettos} throughout the leeward side. (Oops we found out the RAIL would be loud and only the poor wanted to live in proximity of the SCREACHING VIBRATION OF HEAVY STEEL ON STEEL RUSTING RAIL. then we are told It will be paid for with out raising taxes HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH RIGHT
on December 20,2012 | 08:05AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Same old, day in day out! The rail will not get the money, the people will vote panos in, the people will vote cayetano in, the people will not vote berg out. The sky is falling. The Feds won't sign. Hahahahaha, it's over Slater, appeal all you want! Except it. By the way ,what is that accent that Slater has? Brit?
on December 20,2012 | 01:27PM
localguy wrote:
OldDiver - Could be but his brother just got voted in. Seen one bureaucrat you have seen them all. Where is Frank Fasi when we need him.
on December 20,2012 | 11:08AM
localguy wrote:
OldDiver - Could be but his brother just got voted in. Seen one bureaucrat you have seen them all. Where is Frank Fasi when we need him.
on December 20,2012 | 11:08AM
bluebowl wrote:
Agree.Nobory thinks because they are owned .
on December 20,2012 | 06:33AM
jomama wrote:
bwah ha ha....you been watching too much late night movies councilman.
on December 20,2012 | 06:33AM
wondermn1 wrote:
Councilman Berg, Just a note of thanks for all your help in trying to bring proper information to the taxpaysers in our state. Its to bad the election was a sham and now we won't even have a real council but instead a rubber stamping gang of 9 out to fill their beaks with our TAX MONIES
on December 20,2012 | 08:12AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
You CouncilmanBerg, is going over the Mental Cliff.
on December 20,2012 | 01:24PM
mcc wrote:
This is the first time I thought you were funny! I like Councilman Berg and wish he was my Councilman instead of Stanley Chang.
on December 20,2012 | 04:50PM
peanutgallery wrote:
A lot of elbowing-in as hopefuls push forward to dip their beaks. Just another day in paradise.
on December 20,2012 | 03:08AM
danji wrote:
on December 20,2012 | 03:58AM
Kapcity wrote:
on December 20,2012 | 04:28AM
loquaciousone wrote:
I don't hate rail. I'm so glad that this is finally a done deal. From today, I expect the H1 and H2 corridors to be free from traffic and there will never be another traffic jam in Hawaii.
on December 20,2012 | 05:48AM
inverse wrote:
LI ARS. FTA does NOT write the check for $1.55 billion, Congress has to approve such spending and so far the have NOT yet approved that amount of money for a 20 mile train to NOWHERE on Oahu. The current fiscal and financial climate in Congress and the United States will end up with taxes raised for ALL taxpayingq Americans and Congressmen from the other 49 states will NEVER approve of such wasteful spending.
on December 20,2012 | 04:39AM
OldDiver wrote:
Sorry buddy, but it has already been approved. The money is coming.
on December 20,2012 | 07:09AM
PCWarrior wrote:
1.5 is a drop in the bucket for what rail will eventually cost us. You gotta just stop caring, and start laughing.
on December 20,2012 | 08:52AM
wiliki wrote:
Yes... Inverse is lying... not surprised.
on December 20,2012 | 10:19AM
Kuniarr wrote:
Nope, you are, wiliki
on December 20,2012 | 12:45PM
MKN wrote:
@OldDiver: Yes the money is coming, but it may take 10 years for us to get all of the payouts (FTA payouts usually average somewhere between $100-250 Million a year depending on the amount of funding that they receive from congress). If you think they are going to give us one giant check for $1.55 Billion, you're quite mistaken. LOL!!!
on December 20,2012 | 09:07AM
Kuniarr wrote:
Only an agreement to commit to the rail project was reached. And it is foolish at this time to count the chicken before it is hatched with "The money is coming when a Fiscal Cliff shatters any and all dream of a $1.55B grant for the rail project.
on December 20,2012 | 12:44PM
bender wrote:
Now they're saying rail was Inouye's baby from the start. I don't think so. But I suppose invoking his name is supposed to make the opposition disappear.
on December 20,2012 | 04:44AM
kiragirl wrote:
No kidding. Good grief!
on December 20,2012 | 06:46AM
wiliki wrote:
It's part of our vision for Honolulu... it's in the general plan.
on December 20,2012 | 10:20AM
Kuniarr wrote:
Your vision is a mirage. Traffic congestion was, is and will continue to be the problem unless and until the mayor, the governor, the bureaucrat engineers of the State DOT and City DTS wake up that we are now in the 21st century and this problem of traffic jams on the H1 is easily solved.

Rail was not, is not, and will continue to be not a solution to traffic congestion relief.

Actually relieving traffic congestion like what was done on H26 in Portland, Oregon and on I-285 in Atlanta is the solution.
on December 20,2012 | 12:53PM
wiliki wrote:
Baloney... Rail will have a 30% impact on future traffic congestion in the traffic corridor.
on December 20,2012 | 02:58PM
Kuniarr wrote:
30% impact on future traffic congestion is just a figment of your imagination, wiliki.

Why do you have the temerity and the gall to foist the figment of your imagination and preach this fiction about a 30% impact on future traffic congestion, wiliki?
on December 20,2012 | 03:26PM
false wrote:
wiliki: where does this 30% come from. Document this. You don't seem to have a grasp on reality with comments like these.
on December 20,2012 | 08:29PM
false wrote:
Kuniarr: Note that Atlanta has a much more extensive rail system than Honolulu's and it did nothing to solve the city's traffic problems. The new system on I-285 however, is making major gains on traffic control. Atlanta's train system is falling apart because of a lack of ridership. No one wants to give up their cars.
on December 20,2012 | 08:28PM
localguy wrote:
Celebrating way too early. Survey has not been fully completed, there is still hundreds of millions of dollars to spend before the first train goes from start to finish. With all the negative publicity in the news about bureaucrat/government failures in the Nei, this is far from a done deal. Want to bet HART/Grabby Boy will end up going back to Washington, hat in hand, for more money to make up for their incompetence? Want to bet rail will not be built exactly on time or on/under budget? Fact government projects in the Nei come up short more than they meet the standard. Hold on to your wallets people, that sucking sound you hear is HART reaching out to you for more and more money.
on December 20,2012 | 05:07AM
allie wrote:
we are not celebrating..we are in mourning
on December 20,2012 | 05:33AM
kiragirl wrote:
Was council chairman Martin's signature necessary? If no, then why was he there? Anyone know?
on December 20,2012 | 05:34AM
loquaciousone wrote:
He gets a $145 per diem plus a free trip. You cannot be a Ctiy high mucka muck and not travel to exotic places like China and DC.
on December 20,2012 | 05:49AM
wondermn1 wrote:
Its called dipping his BEAK
on December 20,2012 | 08:15AM
Wazdat wrote:
If the RAIL will be Dan's legacy, then that is SAD. The rail will NOT help traffic like some new ROADS and FREEWAYS would. And will DESTROY this Beautiful island. Oh well hope the folks who live out there like being stuck in H1 traffic. IT IS NOT GETTING ANY BETTER with rail. ENJOY
on December 20,2012 | 05:36AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Why do you keep saying that? There will never be another traffic jam in Hawaii from now on, now that the 1.55 bil is a done deal -- well almost. Besides tomorrow is the end of the world so why worry?? It's true. I read it on the internet and my friend Mayan Temple assured me that it was true.
on December 20,2012 | 05:52AM
PCWarrior wrote:
Yes all our problems are now solved since the 1.5 is in the bank.
on December 20,2012 | 08:54AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Is this something like the Stevie Wonder blunder where everything was signed sealed and NOT delivered?
on December 20,2012 | 06:12AM
DABLACK wrote:
Pray Congress approves the funds ! Will HART and Kirk go to Washington to plead for more "kala" ? Please....no conference calls. Tax payers will always foot the bill.
on December 20,2012 | 06:41AM
mcc wrote:
Hawaii received a long-awaited $1.55 billion check from the U.S. Department of Transportation Wednesday, a major milestone in paying for a commuter rail line that is the largest public works project in Hawaii history meant to relieve some of the vexing congestion along the H-1 freeway. This is not true. We do not have a check nor will it relieve traffic. This one paper in Honolulu can really decieve the public.
on December 20,2012 | 06:53AM
Wazdat wrote:
YUP. the SA sures likes to spout B____$
on December 20,2012 | 06:57AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
So one of Carlisle's last acts is to take another trip. That's one of the reasons you got booted, Pete. We got tired of funding your travel agenda.
on December 20,2012 | 07:15AM
loquaciousone wrote:
He must have collected enough mileage by now to take a one way trip to Afghanistan. I hope he uses it.
on December 20,2012 | 07:50AM
kainalu wrote:
Another spit ball in the eye of ... well ... you know who you are. Buwahahahahahaha!
on December 20,2012 | 07:31AM
HD36 wrote:
The Federal Reserve is loaning the government $40 billion dollars a month by buying long term treasuries. There's no way the US can pay the debt off. They will try to print their way out. I guess it's better to own something real before the dollar collapses.
on December 20,2012 | 07:46AM
Ronin006 wrote:
These stories about the late Senator’s role with the rail project are nauseating. They make it appear like rail was his idea and that he is the one who oversaw HART and single-handedly obtain $1.5 billion from the feds. Yes, he was a strong supporter of the project and yes, his influence in Washington may have helped get the money, but let’s no overdo the role he played.
on December 20,2012 | 07:46AM
BHH wrote:
Why isn't this article entitled "Rail Project Short $4 Billion After Sealing Deal With Feds"? They author is obviously looking through the wrong end of the telescope!
on December 20,2012 | 08:42AM
aomohoa wrote:
We can only hope that there will be a close watch on this project and the public will be kept in the loop. At this point we can only hope that the worst doesn't happen and the best does. Let's hope it is not as ugly and noisy as many of us fear. Let's hope it doesn't turn our beautiful Island into any other city instead of paradise. Let's hope it does help traffic, even tough many of us doubt it will. Only time will tell. What either side says at this point means nothing. None of us has a crystal ball.
on December 20,2012 | 08:43AM
PCWarrior wrote:
And we can all count on the Star Advertiser to report the truth of what's out there with rail, right? Whether you pro or anti rail I don't think anyone trusts this paper as an instrument for the public any longer. It's just big business, baby.
on December 20,2012 | 08:59AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
You mean that despite their enthusiastic reporting that "Hawaii received a long-awaited $1.55 billion check," there wasn't really check? I am literally embarrassed for the remaining journalist at the Star-Advertiser.

And while I expect mainlanders to sometimes be confused, Hawaii is the state and the name of the TBI. Honolulu is the City and County. What is going on at the SA? Are the editors all on Christmas holiday already?

THERE WASN'T A CHECK!! and even if there had been, Congress hasn't signed it yet.
on December 20,2012 | 10:45AM
aomohoa wrote:
It's big union business.
on December 20,2012 | 03:00PM
DPK wrote:
aomohoa: Decaying sewage facilities, urban sprawl, limited water and power sources, too many cars, third world roads. And now a silly train to drain taxpayer dollars. The island is inevitably turning into any other city as it is paved over.
on December 20,2012 | 12:09PM
aomohoa wrote:
You are right DPK. I just so tired of trying to reason with the pro rail people.
on December 20,2012 | 03:04PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
"Hawaii received a long-awaited $1.55 billion check from the U.S. Department of Transportation today...." Star-Advertiser Dec 19, 2012

C'mon guys... Burying news unflattering to rail while gushing about it one thing, but this is just plain WRONG. There is no check. "Hawaii" didn't ask for one, Honolulu did.

This is a continuation of the despicable "it's a done deal everyone" reporting you have been doing since the early days of Mufi.

To review: 1) THERE IS NO $1.55 BILLION CHECK!!! It still has to be approved by congress, and assuming it is, it will be awarded piecemeal of the life of the project, not in the form of a "Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes Giant Check."
2) That is also almost the exact amount HART is sending to Italy, so unless the Italians are planning on sending us back a check for $1.55 billion dollars, don't expect too big an economic boom.
3) HAWAII is the name of our largest island and the name of our State. Honolulu is the COUNTY that is asking for and getting this money for their mall train. They are also the county with the additional "temporary GET" to pay for it.

It is very sad to see the Star-Advertiser engaging in this kind of deception of the people of Hawaii.
on December 20,2012 | 08:52AM
wiliki wrote:
Rail is the last important issue that Inouye rallied for.... we should honor that comittement.
on December 20,2012 | 10:12AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Actually, I think his last issue was getting Hanabusa into his seat.
on December 20,2012 | 10:31AM
wiliki wrote:
It's an after thought... he hardly would have known the argument it would have caused.
on December 20,2012 | 02:57PM
Kuniarr wrote:
What $1.55B check is the StarAdvertiser talking about that "Hawaii received"?
on December 20,2012 | 12:29PM
Anonymous wrote:
Another stake in the HART of the rail-haters! Talk about a slow death. I guess you can keep filing them lawsuits to make it even a slower death.
on December 20,2012 | 01:24PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Okay if you insist. I'm having a bucket of chicken jamboree in Kakaako Friday night and no trash cans please.
on December 20,2012 | 02:08PM
Kuniarr wrote:
The thing about Rail is why does the StarAdvertiser have to resort to a phony report about receiving a $1.55 billion check when there is nothing to stop Rail from being constructed?

Rail officials are in denial to criticism about rail funding such as for example that the GET surcharge collection is short of its target as of 2012 in reaching a target of of $3.358 billion when the GET expires in 2022. For as of the 2nd quarter of 2012, the surcharge collection has only reached $905 million or 26.9% of the target when after 5.5 years of collection in a 16-year period of collection the amount should be at this time around $1,154 million or about 34.375%. At this time the shortage is $249 million.
on December 20,2012 | 03:15PM
Kuniarr wrote:
Baloney. wiliki, you are just imagining things.

Tell us wikiwiki what is the amount of the expected total aGET surcharge collection? Thought so. You do not know. Tell us wikiwiki what is the total amount of collection as of the end of the 2nd quarter of 2012? Thought so. You do not know.
on December 20,2012 | 05:26PM
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