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Monday, August 9, 2021
August 9, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:48 PM :: 1751 Views

HDoT: Global Warming Can be a Real Money Spinner for us

For Cost Overruns, Honolulu Rail Is In A League Of Its Own, New Data Shows

CB: … Between 2007 and 2020, the new rail lines, busways, trolleys and other public transit systems that opened across the U.S. cost on average slightly less to build than predicted, according to the most recent Federal Transit Administration data available. 

That’s in sharp contrast to Honolulu’s fledgling rail line, a system whose construction began around the same time as some of those finished transit projects and whose price tag has more than doubled since 2012. 

One former, longtime FTA official who helped launch Honolulu rail more than a decade ago said the dramatic cost overruns that have plagued the project ever since construction started are worse than anything he’s seen. 

“I’ve never seen anything close,” Ron Fisher, former director of the FTA Office of Project Planning, said of rail’s persistent and growing budget woes. …

PDF: FTA 2020 projects

read … For Cost Overruns, Honolulu Rail Is In A League Of Its Own, New Data Shows

Bill 27: Honolulu Neighborhood Boards to Reject Development Plans Before Application Goes to DPP

CB: … Developers may soon need to present project proposals to neighborhood boards in Honolulu before submitting a permit application for coastline development following frustration from North Shore residents and others seeking more public input in the process.

The City Council has advanced a bill that says developers may submit a special management use permit application to the Department of Planning and Permitting if the neighborhood board approves an applicant’s written notice or fails to respond within two months….

DPP Director Dean Uchida, who supports the bill, said that the department had a process asking developers to reach out to neighborhood groups for public input on projects, but efforts were halted “because it wasn’t a legal requirement” but rather a recommendation.

“We support the bill because that’s what we prefer to happen – that they (developers) go and talk to the community before they come to us with the application,” Uchida said….

Tsuneyoshi said any developer who skips this process would face no consequences because neighborhood boards operate as advisory groups. However, it’s an extra step for community engagement and input on local project proposals…

Related: Kahuku and Waimanalo Protests show why Hawaii Needs Municipal Government

read … Honolulu Mulls Bill To Get Communities And Developers ‘On The Same Page’

PTA: Military Training Issue is all About OHA Lease Money

SA Editorial: … The military wants to extend the PTA lease because the land provides access to 110,000 acres of adjacent U.S. federal government-owned land at the largest U.S. military firing range. However, the site dubbed as the “Pacific’s premier training area,” has a troubled history of scant state oversight.

In a lawsuit filed by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., a pair of Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners claimed, compellingly, that the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) failed in its duty to protect the land. Over a span for 55 years, just two inspections to ensure military compliance with lease terms occurred — in 1984, and 1994.

(Translation: OHA wants more than 20% of $1 a year.)

In 2018, a Hawaii judge ruled against the state. A year later, the state Supreme Court upheld a lower court finding that DLNR had breached its trust duties; and a non-binding requirement is now in place for the state develop a plan for cleanup of the leased PTA land.

Last year, the Army began prepping a required environmental impact statement (EIS) to assess the ecological, cultural and economic impacts of continued training on the Pohakuloa land. The Army recently announced the launch of the EIS process for retention of the three Oahu parcels. Any lease extension must be framed with conditions that avoid unnecessary and inappropriate land use.

An opportunity to speak up in-person about the Oahu leases is slated for 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, at an Army scoping meeting at Leilehua Golf Course. The event will air on youtube.com/usaghawaii/live. Recording services for comments will be available, 4 to 9 p.m., on both days at 808-556-8277….

SA: Group opposes Army training and lease extension at Makua

SA: New Secretary of Army, Christine Wormuth, supports renewal of training ground leases 

CB: Hawaii-Based Soldiers Train In Indonesia As US Seeks To Solidify Ties 

read … Weigh impacts of Army training

Pinata: Honolulu still deciding how to spend $386 million in federal funds

SA: … The city’s first federal deadline to disclose its plans for the $386 million it was awarded through the American Rescue Plan Act is approaching at the end of the month. So far, only about $28 million of those funds has been specifically allocated….

In early June the City Council allocated $28 million of ARPA funding, including $20 million for homeless and housing serv­ices and nonprofits supporting those efforts.

Since then it has been up to Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration to present the Council a plan for the funds, which the public has yet to see although a report to the federal government is due at the end of the month. The plan does not need to be approved by the Council.

Council Chairman Tommy Waters drafted his own unofficial plan, which incorporates many of the other Council members’ requests for ARPA funding. He sent it to the city administration as an example of what a plan for the millions of federal dollars can look like. One of the main focuses of that plan: building affordable housing.

In Water’s plan, $40 million of the ARPA funds would be directly used for affordable housing, and $50 million would go to building the island’s infrastructure, one of the most expensive components of any development project on the island.

Faith Action for Community Equity Executive Director Ashleigh Loa emphasized the need for the city to build more units, especially for those making below 80% of the annual median income, which for a family of four is $96,650. She supported Waters’ recommendation to use $20 million to develop housing on city- and state-owned property and another $20 million to acquire vacant properties for housing unstable families….

read … Honolulu still deciding how to spend $386 million in federal funds

‘Honu harassment,’ dozens rally in Laniakea

KHON: … “Locals and kanaka maoli are being told to stop gathering, our keiki sports are canceled, while luaus for hundreds of unmasked visitors are taking place every night, nothing is sacred with the tourist industry and Hawaii has become a playground to visitors,” said Ka Lahui Hawaii member Healani Sonoda-Pale.

“Education is not promoted at all, and it needs to be revisited on how to effectively educate the visitors as they come to visit us,” said North Shore Neighborhood Board vice-chair Racquel Achiu-Hill.

“Overtourism is a real thing, it is a very real thing, and we’re tired of being put second,” she continued.

North Shore residents plan their day around the turtle traffic (purposefully manufactured by HDoT) while thousands of visitors visit the area daily. Some come in tour busses which are not supposed to stop at Laniakea.

“Have the tour guides educate them when they’re coming on the tour busses [to the North Shore], we see a lot of the tour busses come here, offload the people, and it’s clear the tourists don’t know, they go on the rocks, they fall, they also step on the rocks and kill the limu which is the honu’s food,” explained Da Hui O Hee Nalu member Mahina Chillingworth….

(If you are part of the tourism industry, be sure to ‘thank’ HDoT for creating this mess.)

HNN: Bringing attention to ‘honu harassment,’ dozens rallied in Laniakea 

CB: A Wave Of Entitled Tourists Shows The Need For Action

read … Several Native Hawaiian organizations ask leaders to stop prioritizing tourism

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