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Friday, July 13, 2012
Djou: "Rail is being transformed from a public works project into a private benefit club"
By Rep Charles Djou @ 3:30 PM :: 6277 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment

Message to Campaign Supporters from Rep Charles Djou

Honolulu’s proposed rail project is the largest public works venture in Hawaii history, financed by the largest tax increase our state has ever seen. Per capita, even before any cost overruns, the Honolulu rail system will be the most expensive rail project in American history. These facts alone should give anyone who cares about fiscal responsibility pause.

While I support mass transit, and projects such as an elevated HOT lane, I have consistently opposed this rail project. The Honolulu rail system will consume all of our community’s limited resources at the expense of other critical infrastructure needs like our water and sewer systems. Worse yet, it won't work. The system’s own proponents admit that even after they spend over $5 billion of your money, rail will likely only reduce traffic congestion by less than 2%.

Even worse, rail is being transformed from a public works project into a private benefit club, paid for by the taxpayers. The City hired PB Americas to plan this rail system. The City’s Transportation Director is a former senior executive at PB Americas and his wife is still an employee of PB Americas. The consulting engineering firm the City hired to monitor PB Americas, Infraconsult, was founded by former executives at PB Americas. Infraconsult was recently purchased by HDR Engineering, the company the City hired to build the first three rail stations. And, Infraconsult approved HDR's request for a multi-million dollar change order right before it was purchased by HDR.
In turn, the City's army of ‘public relations’ consultants, who have been paid enormous sums of money to blog on the benefits of rail, have spent millions of your tax dollars to convince the public that rail will be beneficial for the City and that the financial mismanagement and insider deals that we have already seen are not a basis for concern.

Our elected officials should be monitoring the use of taxpayer money being spent on rail. However, the politicians asking the fewest questions about rail are the same ones getting the biggest share of political contributions from the unions and contractors benefitting the most from rail.

Make no mistake, this election is about money and power. The winners and losers in several key races will decide our fate for the next generation. We must fight back, but we know that the select few who stand to gain the most from rail are fighting the hardest to ensure that the sweetheart deals continue for the next two decades or more while the rail system is being constructed. Because that select few has the benefit of being paid by your tax dollars, we know that we will never be able to match them financially. But your support of $10, $25, or $100 will make a difference.

We cannot let a powerful select group of people make decisions that will bankrupt this State. As a father of three wonderful children, I look into their eyes and know that I have to do something to make sure that we do not leave the State and our Nation worse off. For our children and grandchildren, we must find the courage to take a stand. Together, we can stop the financial mismanagement, corrupt practices and insider deals associated with this rail project. We can restore integrity in our government, but to do so, we need to elect good people who will do what's right for all of us.
Charles Djou

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