FTA Requires City to Release the Rail Recovery Plan by September; Caldwell will Dramatically Raise Property Taxes
News Release from Djou Campaign July 22, 2016
Honolulu, HI - Congressman Charles K. Djou, candidate for Mayor of Honolulu, reacted to the announcement that the FTA will require the City to release its "work plan" in September and its "recovery plan" in December.
Caldwell's plan to stop at Middle Street, and figure out how to get to Ala Moana later, will likely mean a massive increase in real property taxes. When Caldwell testified before the Hawaii State Legislature in 2015, he repeatedly stated that the City would need a 33% to 43% increase in real property tax rates to cover a $1 billion short fall for rail. Now that the rail project is facing a short fall of at least $1.5 billion, using Caldwell's own math, it means the mayor needs to increase real property tax rates by at least 50% to 65%! The Legislature is not in session and is unlikely to go into special session to dramatically increase taxes prior to the release of the City recovery plan leaving Caldwell with a massive real property tax increase as the only way to fund the mismanagement and incompetence on the City rail project.
"It appears that Caldwell was asking for an extension of the recovery plan until June of 2017 because he was planning to ask the Legislature for another extension of the General Excise tax," stated Djou. "Now that the FTA has denied the request and is requiring the recovery plan before the Legislature goes back into session in January, Caldwell appears to have no choice but to raise property taxes, as he originally threatened."
"As mayor, I will veto any further tax increases for rail," stated Djou. "The people have done their part to finance this project -- $7 billion should be enough for a $5.2 billion project. I will not let this rail project be built on the backs of hard working families and seniors."
Charles Djou represented Hawaii's 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House and previously served on the Honolulu City Council and Hawaii State House. Djou is an Army Reservist and Afghanistan war veteran. He is married to Stacey Kawasaki Djou and together they have three children.
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Federal Transit Administration grants extension for rail recovery plan
News Release from City and County of Honolulu July 22, 2016
Honolulu – The city received a response from Federal Transit Administration Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers yesterday afternoon to Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s June 24 request for an extension for HART and the city to submit a recovery plan.
“I am extremely grateful to the Federal Transit Administration for understanding our need for more time to develop a financial plan to complete the project to Ala Moana and moving the due date from August 7 to the end of this year,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “We look forward to working with the FTA next month on developing intermediate milestones and deliverables for an interim plan. At the same time we will be putting together our recovery plan due in December that addresses their concerns regarding costs, impacts to ridership, and functionality.”
The letters are attached.