Thursday, February 10, 2011

Did Honolulu City Council Get the Memo from U.S. Congress?

Minutes ago I sent this message to our City Council:

Dear Council Members,

On Tuesday House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla. said this: “Rather than focusing on the Northeast Corridor, the most congested corridor in the nation and the only corridor owned by the federal government, the Administration continues to squander limited taxpayer dollars on marginal projects.”

By this statement it is clear that:

(1) Mica urges focus on the Northeast Corridor and he does not seem interested in preserving funds for the Florida ("his own") rail project.

(2) If it comes to a choice for Mica between SunRail and Honolulu's rail, he would most likely opt to save SunRail. It does not matter that SunRail is an FRA project and Honolulu Rail is an FTA project. It's all coming from the federal budget, specifically, the Highway Trust Fund. (Indeed, more rail projects does mean more potholes and falling bridges.)

(3) Mica knows that projects are rated good, marginal or poor. He's not interested in marginal and poor projects. Honolulu's overall FTA rating is medium (marginal) and our financial plan is defective and the population projections used to derive ridership are wrong.

At a minimum, the Honolulu City Council must not approve any expenditures on rail construction until the FFGA is concluded and the contribution is the promised $1.85 Billion.

After that point, the responsibility of adding $4 Billion debt onto Oahu taxpayers will be all yours.


1 comment:

Lowen Lowen said...

Panos, we appreciated your comments and as it seems that in the legislative vernacular "marginal" is not "desirable" as a tax payer funded rail project. The logical next step is to request if more finality as to the proposed Honolulu rail project can be obtained from Congress, much like the level of finality as the Akaka bill was tabled by the Senate earlier.
Except in the case of the Honolulu rail system, the project can be denied, eliminating any possibility of federal funding. After that, I hope we would be deliberate in our local determinations as to the economic and practical viability of a self funded rail system.