City and state clam up on rail

It seems that the city and state administrations are hunkering down to push the $5.5 billion O‘ahu rail project to construction without the inconvenience of further public discussion.

Councilman Breene Harimoto thought the five new council members, including himself, should do their own due diligence on rail financing, so he scheduled a hearing to give a fair listen to a study commissioned by former Gov. Linda Lingle suggesting that funding might be $1.7 billion short.

Infrastructure Management Group Inc., which did the study, was willing to brief the council, but didn’t get permission from the new state administration to do so, leaving the council to listen to the old city spin for the umpteenth time.

Harimoto expressed frustration with the state’s decision to blow off his hearing, saying, “I believe it’s not only common courtesy, but professionalism.”

Mayor Peter Carlisle’s administration, meantime, is declining to participate in a panel discussion on rail financing being sponsored by the League of Women Voters on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon in the Washington Middle School auditorium.

The league said the city administration was invited to send a representative, but declined the invitation citing a time factor.

“We are sorry that the city administration has declined our invitation,” said Pearl Johnson, the league’s planning chair who organized this event.

She said the public still has many questions about the project, and the league doesn’t feel the media has adequately informed the public about the content of the IMG study.

In a meeting with reporters yesterday, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye predicted resistance in Washington to providing the full $1.5 billion federal share and said he could only try his best to secure the money.

Given these credible concerns about funding, it would seem imprudent for the city to start construction without a viable and publicly vetted Plan B for paying for rail if the money supporting the current plan doesn’t come through.

It’s worrisome that the state and city don’t even want to talk about it.

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10 Comments on “City and state clam up on rail”

  1. Craig Smith Says:

    Harimoto needs to understand that the “report” done by the Lingle Admin was nothing more than a red herring and was used to delay the rail project as a way of hurting who she thought was going to be Duke’s rival in the general election.

    Bu tin doing so it hurt Neil’s rival although Mufi hurt himself everytime he opened his mouth and thus helped ensure that Neil was elected Governor.

    So yes it ended up hurting all the construction workers that could have been working but in the grander scheme of everything this report will end up helping ALL of Hawaii’s citizens since Neil is now Governor and Mufi and Duke are off to play in the sandbox.

  2. Michael Says:

    Water pipes will break.

  3. zzzzzing Says:

    It’s worrisome, alright. Gov. Abercrombie stated plainly that the Rail decision had nothing to do with the State. Mayor Carlisle poo-poo’d Lingle’s independent financial statement. Face it, he has the Unions to reward/repay for his election, so why bother talking about Rail with anyone. In short, we’re screwed.

  4. Richard Gozinya Says:

    Earlier on you asked that we all avoid hostile rhetoric and try to respect others’ viewpoints, In this new spirit of kumbaya,I will refrain from expressing my thoughts about this rail boondoggle and how once again,transparency was trumped by politics.

  5. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Why do mass transit opponents feel that remaining dependent upon fossil fuels, sending young adults overseas to be killed in the name of oil, and pouring kazillions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is a better to live now & in the future than building a train system?

  6. shaftalley Says:

    how much energy will be used to build this railroad? how much fossil fuel will be used to provide the energy needed for the rairoad?and how big of a carbon footprint will this railroad generate once she is rolling?not as much energy as required to wage wars,but still alot.

  7. Michael Says:

    hanneman’s voice could run the rail,
    but now he is all out of breath.

    I saw rail where all the People were standing up.
    Standing up, they would start to walk and the train would move. Stop walking and the rail would get off.
    Flintstones. They were way ahead of their time.
    Before fossil fuel was had.

  8. shaftalley Says:

    when this commuter train comes into full service,will people who use autos to commute and shop,etc. take to the rail service?will there be a decrease of cars,suv’s on oahu’s roads?less congestion?i hope so.but i’m thinking that the demand for POV’S will increase no matter how high the ridership on the trains.even if the price of gasoline goes up,which it will,there will always be enough demand that people will pay whatever the price at the pump,and use of cars will never decrease.

  9. Doug Carlson Says:

    Most if not all of shaftalley’s questions are answered in the FEIS. As for car use going up with the price of oil, he/she is probably right, since there will be more people on the island. But many will not drive as gas becomes more expensive; we saw that when oil hit $147/barrel in 2008. They’ll either walk to work or take mass transit.

  10. shaftalley Says:

    when prices at the pump was zooming up past $4 a few years ago,demand barely dropped only about 4% by most estimates.despite what mr.carlson wants us to believe,demand for gas is inelastic.changes in price have little impact on demand.people want their freedom of movement despite conventional wisdom.

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