City Lawyers Told Council Members What Not To Ask On Rail Fact-Finding Trip

City lawyers told the leaders of the council Transportation Committee what questions not to ask on a rail fact-finding mission to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Copenhagen, committee vice chair Ernie Martin told Civil Beat.

Martin on Thursday declined to talk about what they were told not to ask or to give specifics about his conversations with officials in San Francisco and Los Angeles about Ansaldo Honolulu, the company city officials picked for a $1.1 billion rail contract.

"You understand that the process is under protest right now," Martin said. "We were cautioned to be very careful in terms of the types of questions we could ask."

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle announced the city wanted to award the Design, Build, Operate and Maintain contract to Italian rail manufacturer Ansaldo Honolulu in March. The two companies that lost their bids for that contract are both challenging the decision, and calling into question the city's procurement process.

As officials are reviewing the protests, the city is also planning to request approval from the City Council for more money and legal assistance to fight rail-related lawsuits.

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