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."