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Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Rail: Caldwell’s Dog n Pony Show Designed to Force GE Tax Hike
By News Release @ 8:49 PM :: 5391 Views :: Rail, Taxes

Caldwell’s Dog n Pony GE Tax Hike Show—Precisely as Expected, Feds demand Oahu rail project be built to Ala Moana

KHON: “They would not be satisfied with anything less than going to at least at the minimum downtown Honolulu, and in their minds downtown Honolulu meant the Aloha Tower station,” Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin told KHON2 from San Francisco. “The focus was recognizing the GET surcharge was the most viable source of revenue to meet the shortfall.”

“Where you did not see such a unified front going into the legislature the last time (the GET extension was passed), the council chair as well as the transportation chair that were there, the mayor, they’re all saying we’re in this together and we’re going to move this forward together,” Colleen Hanabusa, chairwoman of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s board of directors, told KHON2 from San Francisco.

“Our meetings with the FTA were productive in that we sent a clear message to them that the City and HART leadership are united and committed to build rail all the way to Ala Moana,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said in a statement.

Martin said sources for the additional revenue discussed included a GET extension beyond its current 2027 sunset date, state highway funds, private partnerships and other city revenue to patch the difference.

“We need the legislature’s support to invest in a better future with us and to recognize the role rail will play in improving the quality of life for the people of Hawaii,” Honolulu City Council transportation chair Joey Manahan, who attended the meetings, said in a statement.

Most acknowledge it will be an uphill battle at the Capitol. The House and Senate money chairs both have expressed in the past they are not open to a tax extension since the cost of rail skyrocketed after the last extension was voted on.

“Even within the council’s own perspective when the GET surcharge was extended by the Legislature, we had our reservations as well with respect to the representations from the administration and HART,” Martin told KHON2. “But the circumstances have changed dramatically I think with respect to leadership at the very top at HART both from the administration and the policy-making board. I think we have a greater level of confidence in the numbers. The difference this time around is we need to make a concerted effort collectively with the legislature, as the City and County of Honolulu, not the mayor, not HART on its own, by the City Council as well.”

read … Martin, Hanabusa: Focus on GE Tax Hike

SA: Feds to city: No more money for rail, no stopping at Middle Street

CB: Feds To Honolulu: Finish Rail Route Or Give Us Back Our Money 

Ignore All Other Options >>> Savio: Rail Can be Built Without Any Taxpayer Dollars  <<< KEEP IGNORING THIS

  *   *   *   *   *

City officials report productive meetings with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

News Release from City and County of Honolulu   August 30, 2016

(San Francisco)- City leaders and FTA officials today concluded two days of discussions on a Recovery Plan for the Honolulu rail project.

“Our meetings with the FTA were productive in that we sent a clear message to them that the City and HART leadership are united and committed to build rail all the way to Ala Moana,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

The FTA previously required the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) submit a Recovery Plan by the end of the year. During the San Francisco meetings, the Hawaii delegation reaffirmed the City’s commitment to build to Ala Moana and requested the FTA reconsider its end of year submission date. “We are very encouraged by the FTA’s response” said Mayor Caldwell.  (Translation: We want to hand this hot potato to the Legislature, again.)

“As emphasized by FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers, the FTA is a partner with us on the rail project,” said HART Board Chair Colleen Hanabusa. “Having all the stakeholders at the table to discuss how best to build a functional rail project for the people of Hawaii was key.”  (All except the Legislature and the taxpayers.)

In December 2012, the FTA and the City signed a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) committing the federal government’s $1.55 billion for Honolulu to build a 20-mile elevated rail system with 21 stations.

"Our federal partners made it clear that ending the project at Middle Street is unacceptable and would risk the full $1.55 billion committed to the city through the FFGA,” said City Council Chair Ernie Martin. Both Mayor Caldwell and Council Chair Martin asked the FTA for a commitment for additional federal funds. (Caldwell pretends to hit the Feds up for more money when he hasn’t even given them the recovery plan required to release the existing funds.  What a joke.) The FTA’s response was “no.”  (NOTE: If you are surprised by this, you truly are a sucker.)

“We need the legislature’s support (GE TAX HIKE) to invest in a better future with us and to recognize the role rail will play in improving the quality of life for the people of Hawaii,” said Council Transportation Chair Joey Manahan.  (Remember how reluctant the Council was to accept the current GE Tax extension?  Now they want Legislators to do it.)

As partners in the FFGA, the FTA, HART and the City ended the meetings on a positive note with an (meaningless) agreement that project costs will be contained, a project review by transit experts (patsies) will be conducted by year end and an updated financial plan will be prepared by HART as the FTA is reconsidering its recovery plan due date (to allow this to stretch into the Legislative session so Caldwell can use it to push a GE Tax hike).

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