Will A New Law Mean Federal Funding for Honolulu BRT?
That's because, Cayetano's campaign says, a new federal law that took effect Oct. 1 changes the definitions of "bus rapid transit" and "fixed guideway" in such a way that elements of Cayetano's FAST plan are now eligible for up to 80 percent federal support.
Here's a tweet Cayetano For Mayor sent out during a "FAST Forum" at Kalani High School Tuesday night that exemplifies this mentality.
BRT systems are classified as a Fixed Guideway, which is qualifies for federal funding just like rail does. #hnlmayor— Cayetano for Mayor (@VoteBen2012) October 10, 2012
A "cheat sheet" produced by one industry publication seems to lend some credence to the idea. But a closer look at the actual changes to the law — and a conversation with a Honolulu official well-versed in federal funding rules — suggests Cayetano's campaign might be overly optimistic about the likelihood of help from Washington, D.C.
The issue is scheduled for a public airing during Thursday afternoon's meeting of the Honolulu City Council's Transportation Committee. Chair Breene Harimoto has asked for a discussion-only update on the new federal surface transportation act known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or "MAP-21" for short.