Monday, May 21, 2018
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Did HART Secretly Pay Off Advertiser Editor?
By Honolulu Traffic @ 4:30 PM :: 4749 Views :: Ethics, Rail

Rail outreach turning into outrage as it approaches $20 million:

From Honolulu Traffic

Honolulu Weekly has a new listing of PR expenditures promoting rail transit obtained from undercover city sources (“Deep Throat”). The list amounts to $11.7 million spent from 2008 through today. However, we must allow for three more items if we are to get a real handle on what is being spent.

First, five accounts in the listing are shown as, “Not reported.” Jeanne Mariani-Belding, former editorial page editor of the Advertiser is one. PB Americas is charging HART $175,000 annually for Doug Carlson’s blog, and $215,000 annually for Pat Lee to attend Neighborhood Board meetings (see entire listing of HART people), so one would think that PB must charge Jeanne out for at least $250,000 annually, and she is just one of five on the “Not reported” list.

Second, there are no charges shown for the period 2005 to 2008. However, we do know that the City issued $3.3 million in public relations/outreach contracts during this time.

Third, we do not know HART’s projections for the next few years but, at the current level of $2 million plus annually, it would not be unreasonable to consider that future charges will be at least another $1.5 million annually until 2020, should the rail line get built. That would be another $12 million.

The recipients of all this "outreach" may start to wonder how HART could have spent around $15 million on "outreach" and yet somehow forget to tell the voters that traffic congestion in the future with rail will be worse than it is today. How silly of them.

Let’s consider how we are managing the rail project:

First, we hired Parsons Brinckerhoff executive Wayne Yoshioka to be the City Transportation Director. Then we contracted with Parsons Brinckerhoff to plan the rail line. We then contracted with InfraConsult LLC to watch over PB. (Three senior PB officials had formed InfraConsult prior to its contract with the City).

To run HART, the semi-autonomous transit authority, our politicians appointed nine directors, not one of whom had any familiarity with transit whatsoever. Lack of it seemed to be a requirement for appointment.

Some months ago HART awarded Ansaldo STS/Breda a core systems contract which includes the design, construction and delivery of the train vehicles, the train control systems and the operation and maintenance of the rail system after installation. HART chose Ansaldo despite their not being the low bidder.

Note that until a couple of months ago we had no employee or appointee in HART/City who had any experience in running a rail transit line. Yet we awarded contracts for billions of dollars to build of one of the most expensive heavy rail lines ever built in the U.S. We will ignore for the moment that HART did this with no commitment for federal funding.

Having now awarded a majority of the contracts to build rail we finally hire someone, HART CEO Dan Grabauskas, who had actually run a rail transit line. While running Boston’s MBTA he had installed a new train control system on the Red Line that permitted more frequent service and he had also had installed an electronic fare system. He is also by reputation an excellent administrator. However, running a rail line and building one are two very different matters.

In the meantime, PB was sold to British construction company Balfour Beatty PLC. Infraconsult has been sold to Omaha, Nebraska-based HDR Engineering, Inc. As we mentioned the other day, China South Locomotive, majority-owned by the Chinese government, is considering making a bid for Italian train maker Ansaldo STS, according to last Sunday’s London Sunday Times.

Isn’t anyone else nervous?

There has only been one U.S. elevated heavy rail line built since 1984 and that was the Tren Urbano in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Its cost overrun was 74 percent higher than the amount settled at the time of the Full Funding Grant Agreement. Its ridership was just as bad, it achieved only 23 percent of what it had projected.

Even worse is its subsequent performance: In 2003, the last full year before rail, San Juan had bus ridership of 32.0 million. In 2010 the combined ridership of its buses and its multi-billion dollar rail line was 21.8 million, a 32 percent decline from 2003 from its bus ridership alone.

Given these facts, you should now ask which, if any, of our elected decision makers have been to San Juan to see what they could learn about it to prevent a similar disaster happening here. Don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer to that one.


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940


ACA Signups Hawaii



Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Conservative Alliance

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

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

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

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

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

Friends of Lanai

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 Families for Educational Choice

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 Senate Informer

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Hawaii Votes

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu TEA Party

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube


Hump Day Report

Hunting, Farming and Fishing Assoc.

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

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 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

Ohana Policy Group

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

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Copenull

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

TEA Party Maui

TFB Micronesia

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

United Veterans Hawaii

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

YAL UH Hilo