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Monday, January 1, 2018
January 1, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:20 PM :: 3085 Views

Report: Hawaii’s Billion-Dollar Consensus Proves Nobody Really Believes in Sea Level Rise

Hawaii Most Sleep Deprived State

Next Trick to Justify Higher Rail Costs—P3 Plan Designed to Fail 

SA:  …The Federal Transit Administration will decide in 2018 whether a controversial new financing plan for Honolulu’s $9 billion rail line is backed by enough money to actually complete the troubled project, which will soon enter its most challenging construction phase through the city center….

The escalating cost of the city’s 20-mile rail line forced the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to produce a financial “recovery plan” for rail in September, but it isn’t certain yet whether the new financial plan will pass muster with the Federal Transit Administration.

HART Executive Director Andrew Robbins said HART expects to win FTA approval by July, and “we’re on target with them.”

The FTA’s opinion matters — a lot — because the federal government pledged $1.55 billion to help fund the rail project. The city has received about $800 million of that federal money so far, but FTA does not plan to release any of the remaining $750 million until the city demonstrates it has a viable recovery plan.

One possible concern is a report by an outside consultant overseeing the Honolulu project who warned in August that it is “not confident” the total cost of rail construction will remain at $8.2 billion. The latest rail cost estimate includes about $8.2 billion in construction costs, with financing costs making up the balance of the project’s $9 billion total price tag.

In an effort to curb construction costs, HART has hired Ernst & Young Infrastructure Advisers LLC to evaluate the possibility of entering into “public-private partnerships” (evaluation designed to fail) to complete the guideway and stations along the 4.5 miles through the city center. The consultant is scheduled to report in March whether that strategy is workable….

(NOTE: Successful P3 initiatives were not part of the cost projections used to justify the latest round of GE Tax hikes.  But the failure of this designed-to-fail P3 evaluation will be used to justify the next round of rail cost escalations.) 

The city has also issued a request for proposals for relocating or burying utilities along the rail route from Middle Street to Ala Moana Center, a major undertaking expected to cost about $250 million. The final price will offer more clues about the city’s ability to control costs, and that contract should be awarded in about April, Robbins said.

Rail will also receive an injection of extra funding this year. State lawmakers approved an increase in the hotel room tax for the next 13 years as part of a larger financial bailout of the rail project, and cash from that statewide tax increase will begin flowing to the project this year. The hotel tax increase is expected to raise an extra $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion for rail. (Until the next tourism downturn)

P3 Failing: Kakaako Developer Demands $200M from HART

And Don’t Forget: Report: Hawaii’s Billion-Dollar Consensus Proves Nobody Really Believes in Sea Level Rise

read … The new year is pivotal for rail, politics and the TMT

Monster Homes Only a Problem if they Create Affordable Housing

SA: …Isn’t it ironic that Mayor Kirk Caldwell expressed concern about “monster houses” changing the character of residential neighborhoods (“Caldwell looks to rein in ‘monster houses’,” Star-Advertiser, Dec. 20)?

The mayor is quoted in the article as saying, “The spread of monster homes is a serious issue that affects the well-being of families in long-established neighborhoods, and we need to get a handle on the situation before it spirals out of control.”

He also said that “we cannot allow these oversized structures to change the character of our communities.”

The irony is that the mayor has been very lax in enforcing current vacation rental laws, and has established a task force to expand permits for them. These rentals have limited the housing supply and have similar affects on the character of residential neighborhoods that he decries for monster houses.

Is he concerned about the housing crisis and the character of neighborhoods or not?…

read … Monstrous Hypocrisy

Another Kaka'ako park temporarily closes, another move by Shelter-Refusers

KITV: …The month-long closure is for maintenance, and to make the park more resistant to graffiti.

The closure will also clear out more than a dozen homeless people who currently call the park home.

Signs are now posted at the park, announcing that the closure will take effect from Tuesday, January 2 until February. This is the fourth park closed for maintenance in the Kaka'ako area. With another park closing, the homeless people we spoke to said they don't know where they will go next.

Nearby businesses fear the park's closure on Tuesday will push the homeless onto their properties. Sean Cristoval, assistant manager of Fisher Hawaii, says "it's probably a definite thing for sure that they're going to come to our back parking lots, or on the side, or pretty much wherever they can find."

With the restrooms currently locked at the park, Cristoval says the homeless people have been using the ones on the Fisher Hawaii property instead. He believes the problem will only get worse once they are kicked out of the park in a few days.

He says this may scare some customers away. "You don't want people to think that they don't even want to come in because they're scared or because it's just unsightly," Cristoval says…..

"I have been homeless myself. I have been drunk and lived in the park myself. I've been arrested in many of the different islands."…

read … Another Kaka'ako park temporarily closes, another move by the homeless

2018: Push is on for $300M Stadium Project

SA: …Studies indicate that if a plan is approved to build a replacement the process could take five years or more with costs to top $300 million, depending on when the go-ahead is given.

A study commissioned by the state has recommended a new facility in the 35,000-seat range expandable to nearly 40,000 adjacent to the current stadium that could be financed, in part, by a public-private partnership.

The Stadium Authority has sought funds for an environmental impact study and master plan.

read … Waste of $300M

Year in Review

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