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State lawmakers set dates for special session on rail funding

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    The Honolulu rail ends on Kualakai Parkway, near the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Kapolei.

State lawmakers have been asked to meet in special session the week of Aug. 28 through Sept. 1 so they can hash out a deal to rescue Honolulu’s cash-strapped rail project.

Senate President Ron Kouchi (D, Kauai-Niihau) and House Speaker Scott Saiki (Downtown-Kakaako-McCully) sent a joint memo to the Legislature today, asking them to reserve those dates. Their memo states that they will confirm those dates “as soon as practicable.”

The move comes about three weeks after the two Legislative leaders sent a letter assuring the Federal Transit Administration that they intended to hold a special session to help solve the funding crisis. That letter didn’t include any dates, however.

Honolulu has a $1.55 billion funding deal with the FTA for rail, but its massive cost and schedule problems have placed the city technically in breach of that contract.

Honolulu City Council Chairman Ron Menor and others have said they don’t believe the FTA will wait for the Legislature to attempt to hash out a deal during the 2018 session. The agency, he said, would likely revoke funding by then.

Special session proposal on Rail by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd

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