Thursday, July 18, 2024
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 :: 7736 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


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii