Mayor Caldwell statement on budget
News Release from Office of the Mayor June 1, 2016
Honolulu - The City Council today passed the budget for Fiscal Year 2017. Mayor Kirk Caldwell issued the following statement:
Mahalo to Budget Chair Kobayashi and her staff for working so hard on the budget and restoring a number of important programs. We know it is not an easy task. Reviewing the budget document is a long process and requires hours of collaboration with councilmembers representing districts all over the island.
However, we are disappointed that some important items were omitted in the final budget. Funds were cut for improvements at Thomas Square to restore Honolulu’s oldest park in time for its 175th anniversary, celebrating the restoration of the monarchy of King Kamehameha III, a critical moment in history important to the Native Hawaiian community. The council once again cut all funding for staff urgently needed to purchase affordable housing and get homeless people off our streets.
Despite these shortcomings, we greatly appreciate the priorities that were funded, including road repaving, park improvements, sewer upgrades, and funds for TheBus service.
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City Council approves $6.8B cap on rail spending
HNN: After hours of debate, City Council members agreed Wednesday to cap spending for the Honolulu rail project at $6.8 billion, a total that will likely mean the project's scope will have to be scaled back. (We’ve seen this play before. We know how it ends–with a tax hike.)
Martin had initially proposed cutting the route, but pulled back the proposal in favor of the cap.
The cap comes after months of hand-wringing over the rail's skyrocketing project costs.
Some council members say the hardest hit will be Leeward Oahu residents, who have the longest commutes.
"It's not about the courage to say no. It's the courage to fight for communities that have been neglected, lied to and disenfranchised and not taken care of for decades," Honolulu City Councilwoman Kymberly Pine said.
When the FTA's new estimate was released in May, HART board Chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa acknowledged it may mean a shorter rail route.
"If we change it any way we're going to have to look at ridership numbers," Hanabusa said. "It's not something we can do in isolation."
The current plan calls for a route that connects West Oahu to Ala Moana Center. Many are now calling for the project to instead end at Middle Street.
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