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Sunday, March 18, 2012
Feds Hit Rail over 'Lousy Practices of Public Manipulation'
By News Release @ 11:45 PM :: 5172 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

"I do not think the FTA should be associated with their lousy practices of public manipulation and we should call them on it."

From HonoluluTraffic.com

The startling information on just how badly planned this rail transit is just continues to boil up to the surface. The headline above is a direct quote from the administrative record, the complete quote is included below.

During the Stop Rail campaign, the City spent well over $2 million against us, trying to do just that, manipulate the public.

 

In reviewing the Administrative Record, which we have been waiting for ten months for, we find internal emails within the FTA that show how they feel about our administration.

 

Following are actual quotes from the administrative record:

 

AR00138475 Ossi, Joseph <FTA> To: Barr, James <FTA>; Matley, Ted <FTA> Sent: 4/21/2009 10:28:29 AM

"As you know, the EPA has recently submitted a letter questioning why alternatives to an elevated rail line, such as light rail at street level and bus rapid transit, weren't evaluated in the project's environmental impact study. Would EPA's questioning of the EIS process possibly impact the timeline of the project?

Unless we have good justification in the public NEPA record for eliminating the EPA alternative from consideration, we would be extremely vulnerable in a NEPA suit, and there are numerous potential litigants. If we do not have good justification in the public NEPA record for eliminating the EPA alternative from consideration, then we should supplement the NEPA record. That will take time, but not as much time as litigation." [Note that the "bus rapid transit" in the EPA letter was "bus rapid transit on a busway."]

AR00150118 From: Ryan, James <FTA> Sent: Thursday, October 12, 2006 8:42 AM To: Sukys, Raymond <FTA> Cc: Libberton, Sean <FTA>; Fisher, Ronald <FTA>

"We seem to be proceeding in the hallowed tradition of Honolulu rapid transit studies: never enough time to do it right, but lots of time to do it over."

AR00150071 Ossi, Joseph <FTA> Sent: Tuesday, November 14, 2006 2:10 PM To: Ryan, James <FTA>; Sukys, Raymond <FTA> Cc: Turchie, Donna <FTA>; Marler, Renee <FTA>

"This isn't an FTA issue. Let the city deal with it. They have produced 3 failed projects and are well on their way to a fourth, so why is FTA wasting time on the City's problems?"

Response From: Sukys, Raymond <FTA> To: Ossi, Joseph <FTA>; Ryan, James <FTA> CC: Turchie, Donna <FTA>; Marler, Renee <FTA> Sent: 11/14/2006 1:03:25 PM

"This is different. This time they have a huge cash flow which will build something. It seems likely that we will get involved in litigation again especially since we have an erroneous NOI out there. I do not think the FTA should be associated with their lousy practices of public manipulation and we should call them on it."

151187 From: Sukys, Raymond (TRO-09) To: Ossi, Joseph (TPE) Sent: 1/4/2006 7:52:16 AM Subject: FW: FYI - Complaint on Honolulu's public process

"Toru, again, has aggravated a lot of people. He was recently named in a suit over a procurement issue and during scoping indicated that one of the alternatives (hot lanes) stated in the NOI would be dropped from evaluation since FTA would not fund it, despite our notice that we would evaluate it."

The Greatest Lie of All:

The City never told the truth about traffic congestion reduction. They always tried to imply that “relief” was on the way. It was why, in the 2008 Advertiser poll, 73 percent of those polled said they supported rail because they believed that it would reduce the commute on H-1. No rationale person believed that we would spend over $5 billion and have traffic congestion worse than today.

In fact, when we said, "The city admits future traffic congestion will be worse with rail than it is today.” Yoshioka’s response was to accuse us, in writing, of lying (all on olelo) and adding, “This is a cleverly crafted statement that knowingly uses only part of the information available. The Alternatives Analysis shows that a fixed guideway will reduce future traffic congestion between Kapolei and Honolulu by 11 percent.”

To which we responded, “This is pure spin. He is not denying that traffic congestion will be worse than today only that rail will reduce congestion by 11 percent from what it would be without rail.”

Now contrast all that with Yoshioka’s statement in the Final EIS, “… traffic congestion will be worse in the future with rail than what it is today without rail …”

But the biggest lie of all is that when you read the rationale for building rail, what they call the Purpose and Need statement in the Final EIS, you find that the City never had any intention of reducing traffic congestion below today's unbearable levels.

Click here for a pdf version with all the sources of information that you can forward to your friends.

Project Management Oversight Contractor's Report now online:

About a month ago we received the PMOC Report of October 2011 in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request we had made to FTA about risk assessments for the rail project. It has taken this long to find the time to scan it accurately but we have done it and it is now online.

The Report has 339 pages, many in color and so the file is a huge 204 megs. So to download, be very, very patient.

What follows below are quotes from it:

"… this is an extremely large project, and historically such projects are found to exhibit high-risk profiles … the remaining work on this project extends into increasingly dense urban areas, increasing the risk of third-party interferences and unexpected underground utility and archaeological conditions." (p. 13)

Appendix D of the Report is the Project Risk Register a list of all possible risks to costs of the Project. You will notice the many serious risks are faced by the Project from, for example, unanticipated fiber optic and water mains relocations, old utilities containing asbestos needing HAZMAT disposal, delays due to ‘iwi discoveries, land use permits not available because of lack of zoning changes such as Ho’opili, delays from discovery of archeologically significant materials, delays in obtaining a permitted casting yard, unanticipated litigation beyond that already experienced, traffic disruptions causing the City to revise constraints on vehicle movements resulting unanticipated change orders from contractors, geotechnical conditions that differ from that baselined during design, deviations from specs for utility relocations, further legal protests on the Ansaldo contract, to name just a few of the 392 risks listed.

Remember the $15 million claim that Kiewit was paid?

Did you ever think you got a straight answer as to why they were awarded that large sum? Here's the reason why that, and most probably a lot more, will be coming contractors' way. The City simply made the awards of contracts and gave Notices to Proceed (NTP) too early. Here's the content of an email (dated 10/7/2010, #AR00097908) between two FTA officials on the subject of Kiewit's contract to build the first 6.5 miles of the guideway

    "They have put themselves in a "pickle" with the WOFH DB Contract by identifying unrealistic dates for NTP 3 (FD) and NTP 4 (constructionstart). Currently they have told Kiewit to expect these NTPs in March 2011. We have warned them several times in the last couple of months that these dates are improbable, but they haven't listened. We strongly feel that giving the contratractor (sic) dates that are known to be impossible may magnify their delay claim."

FTA response to Governor Cayetano's press conference was 'doublespeak':

This morning the Cayetano for Mayor campaign co-chair Walter Heen, former City Council Chair and former Federal Judge announced the following:

"As co-chair of Governor Ben Cayetano’s campaign for Mayor of Honolulu, I am dismayed at the inconsistent statement from the Federal Transit Agency in response to Governor Cayetano’s revelation of the agency’s negative views of the city’s actions in pursuit of rail transit for Honolulu.

In an earlier comment contained in the city’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement, the FTA stated:

“Many commenters [on the Draft EIS] reiterated their concern that the Project will not relieve highway congestion in Honolulu. FTA agrees, [emphasis mine] but the purpose of the project is to provide an alternative to the use of congested highways for many travelers.”

"Yesterday, however, the FTA said that it believed “that this project will bring much needed relief from the suffocating congestion on the H-1 Freeway and provide a real transportation alternative for the people of Honolulu...”

"This is a stark inconsistency and gives the appearance that the federal agency has taken the unprecedented step of inserting itself into a municipal campaign."

---30---

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