Monday, July 06, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, November 15, 2015
Rail Funds Frozen? Feds Explain ‘Officially’ and ‘Unofficially’ What they Told Caldwell
By Andrew Walden @ 3:54 PM :: 5135 Views :: Rail

by Andrew Walden

Has Kirk Caldwell been moonlighting as a Star-Advertiser reporter?  In Saturday’s edition, it appears that Caldwell is the only source the Star-Advertiser has reporting on Rail funding decisions allegedly made by Federal Transit Administration Acting Administrator Therese McMillan:

The head of the Federal Transit Administration said the agency would withhold the release of $250million in grant money for the city’s $6.57 billion rail project unless it gets assurances that the City Council will pass an extension of the 0.5 percent surcharge on the general excise tax.

That’s according to Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who met for about an hour this week with FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan.

Caldwell said that McMillan also made it clear that the agency expects the city to carry through with its agreement to construct a 20-mile, 21-station rail line from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center as promised.

With HART and members of the Honolulu Council saying they had no information on any federal funding freeze, we at Hawai’i Free Press tried a novel approach—actually contacting FTA spokespeople in Washington to see what they had to say about it.

First we got an “unofficial” response which was apparently sent to us when a FTA spokesperson “accidentally” included us in an email discussion of our request (emphasis added):

I'm not clear on exactly what was told to Mayor Caldwell. (FTA Acting Administrator) Therese (McMillian) sent an email to Dan Grabauskus (sic) in late October related to the $250M. I didn't see the final, but draft versions did not make the release of funds solely contingent on local action to pass the GET tax. I'm sure Therese conveyed the same message to the Mayor that she has with Dan.

A few hours later, we received an “official” response to be attributed as “according to FTA” (emphasis added):

FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan communicated to Mayor Caldwell during a November 12, 2015 meeting that FTA must be assured of the commitment of the revenue needed for the Honolulu rail project before the award of FY 2015 New Starts funds.

Until FTA receives and approves a revised project cost estimate, schedule, and financial plan which includes a commitment of all of the local funds needed to cover that cost estimate, FTA cannot award the FY 2015 increment of New Starts (Section 5309) funds under the terms of the Full Funding Grant Agreement. The receipt of the requested deliverables is needed for FTA to re-assess and validate HART’s information, since FTA has concerns that the total contingency may be underestimated, the most recently provided schedule has a low probability for success, and the Honolulu City Council must take timely action to extend the general excise tax to mitigate further cost increases and slippage in the schedule.

Did you notice?  The FTA found a way to protect both Caldwell and Grabauskas.


Update Nov 16: FTA Letter to Caldwell


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940


ACA Signups Hawaii



Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii



Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube


Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii


National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Hawaiian

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii