Honolulu Mayor Expects $100M Budget Shortfall, So Why is Rail Still On

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BY JOE DEMARCOHonolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle predicts the city could face a budget shortfall of more than $100 million next year so he’s making major cuts to the city’s construction plan to help balance the budget.

Carlisle has insisted that there be a “Careful review of overtime. Careful review of new hires. Freezing of new hires to the extent possible,” so tax-payers get ready to tighten your belt even further.

It seems to me this could all be avoided if we just canceled our proposed $5.5 billion rail and diverted the funds.

However, greedy land-developers have spoken and we all know the politicians are in their back pockets.

Speaking of politicians, did you know that in last weeks’ election, U.S. Rep James Oberstar (who was head of the House of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee) lost his seat.

Without a Democrat as head of Transportation Committee, some have suggested that Honolulu’s funding for rail transit may also be in jeopardy. With the city in the hole $100 million and growing, why are our government leadrs insisting on building this monstrosity?

Does anybody still think rail is a good idea?

I mean it’s obvious there are many out-of work construction workers, but building a rail just to create jobs seems a bit short-sighted, besides what happens when they’re done, the construction workers will again be out of work.

I think it may be time for a re-vote.

The voters’ approval of rail barely passed two years ago with a vote of 53%-47% – and this support came when the economy was booming.

In addition, Mayor Mufi Hanneman spent millions of dollars advertising for to promote his pet project, any anti-railers felt the question on the ballot was unfairly promoted with their tax dollars.

Rail will cost about $4,300 per person in the State of Hawaii, compared to Phoenix’s $180 per person system.

Even if Hawaii gets federal funding, this still is an awfully big bill for taxpayers to foot.

Is there even a question that we must stop rail now?

In an economy that doesn’t seem to be getting better, ask yourself is this the right decision for Honolulu?

When asks about rail funding by the federal government, senator Inouye asserted that although the Republicans have taken control of the house and although they want to shrink the size of government, “The federal money will still be there for the Honolulu rail project,” but the Senator also went on saying of federal funding, “Nothing is guaranteed.”
Joseph DeMarco is a resident of Kapolei, Hawaii

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Joseph DeMarco was born in New York City; he lived most of his life in Buffalo, NY. He now teaches seventh grade on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. He is the author of the novels Plague of the Invigilare, The 4 Hundred and 20 Assassins of Emir Abdullah-Harazins, At Play in the Killing Fields, Blind Savior, False Prophet, and Vegans Are Tastier. He is currently working on several new projects.

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  1. There were several recent revotes and rail continues to be approved overwhelmingly.

    In the three elections in the past two years, the electorate has said “yes” to two City Charter rail amendments, four new pro-rail City Council members, two mayoral rail champions (Mufi Hannemann and Peter Carlisle), a new rail-friendly congresswoman (Colleen Hanabusa), and finally, a governor (Neil Abercrombie) who has supported rail transit since the 1970s.

    Anti-rail candidates have lost resoundingly in contests for Honolulu mayor. It’s obvious that the public wants a rail system.

    I frankly can’t understand why sore losers like Mr. DeMarco continue to get so much press.

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