The Denver Post recently published an interesting story about the city’s floundering FasTracks rail program. The scenario sounds eerily similar to Honolulu’s and could be a warning. Colorado voters approved a 0.4 percent sales tax increase to pay for the project. They were told $1 billion in federal funding would be part of the package, but that remains uncertain. Now, plummeting tax revenues and rising construction costs have left them $2.4 billion short. The government’s solution? Proposing another tax increase to close the gap.
Even if this works, residents can look forward to having a functioning rail system in a speedy — 19 years. Right now they can afford to build — you guessed it — half the rail! On Oahu, that’d be the equivalent of people getting half way to work — all the way from Kapolei to, say, Salt Lake.
Denver isn’t the only place with this type of problem. Similar stories have bubbled up across the country from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Dallas and Cleveland this past week. And they aren’t pretty.
More egregiously in Puerto Rico, a rail project that was supposed to cost $766 million soared to $2.25 billion after a decade of planning and construction. Adjusted for inflation, it turned out to be a 113 percent cost overrun, according to an editorial from the Grassroots Institute. Granted, the writer represents a national environmental organization that opposes most construction projects, but even Council member Romy Cachola noted Puerto Rico’s debacle in his report to City Hall.
The city’s website does list some success stories. But could these other cities be a cautionary tale for Oahu? …
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The proposed $4.3 billion sale of Hawaiian Electric has featured everything from attack ads to high-powered consultants.
· By Richard Wiens
A Maui Department of Health official says field burning should be limited to 75 acres or less at a time.
Not all electricity is created equal. Maximize daytime demand for the product, and we might wean ourselves off oil and reduce the cost of living in the islands.
Micronesians are leaving their island homes in search of better lives in the U.S., and many are coming to Hawaii.
Honolulu’s mayor gets many small gifts from individuals with interest in city business. Municipal ethics rules don’t seem to prohibit the largesse.
Louis Kealoha and his wife ask a judge to stop the city Ethics Commission from investigating them over the case of a missing mailbox.
The Kauai Good Neighbor Program could go statewide by the year’s end, but food-safety advocates say mandatory regulations are needed.
A local coalition currently receives $9.8 million in federal funding, but a new rule penalizes areas seen as criminalizing homelessness.
A former employee of Ansaldo Honolulu JV claims a lack of safety oversight could result in hazardous conditions and liability.
The state wants soil testing done, and it’s also asking a federal agency to help determine if there are health risks at the base in Kaneohe.
For years, county liquor commissions have controlled dancing in bars and restaurants where alcohol is served. Now they have to define what it is.
Members whose terms expired in June stay on to keep the council running as they wait — and wait — for Gov. David Ige to make new appointments.
The head of Hawaiian Electric Co. talks about Hawaii’s 2045 renewable energy goals and how unique conditions help keep the islands’ power bills so high.
When belongings are confiscated instead of trashed, Honolulu’s retrieval process is too expensive and cumbersome for many.
The Center for Food Safety sought emails between legislators and seed companies. It’s appealing the denials to the Office of Information Practices.
If the sign isn’t removed, a group demands more signs, including one saying, “There is no god … We have each other.”
A legal clinic trying to exonerate those who have been wrongfully convicted has new leadership that’s hoping to free more innocent people.
As the sun finally overpowered the clouds, some visitors couldn’t resist venturing a little farther out on Oahu’s southeast shores than safety officials would prefer.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige and the EPA praise a new agreement to fix the underground storage tanks, but critics say it’s not enough.
The Public Utilities Commission hears a lot about alternative utility ownership models, but little about a proposed sale of Hawaiian Electric Industries.
Candidates include Walter Ritte, Rowena Akana, Bumpy Kanahele, Dante Carpenter, Lilikala Kameeleihiwa and Faye Hanohano.