Rail, Taxes and a New Gun Range Proposal for Oahu

Former City Council Member Tom Berg
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Photo: Emily Metcalf

BY COUNCIL MEMBER TOM BERG – When the Hawaii State Legislature and Governor advanced approval to pass ACT 247 in 2005 for the General Excise Tax (GET) increase- RAIL SURCHARGE, that law prohibited the tax from being used to build roads and bike lanes on Oahu.

Since we know the rail endeavor will not resolve traffic congestion and another hefty tax increase to finish the line to UH Manoa and Waikiki will have to take place, what is being done to actually tackle the problem? Not enough is the answer.


That is why I am proposing Resolution 11-259 to offer the residents of Oahu a choice. I wrote an article to elaborate for your review and comment. In a nutshell, would you favor a new dedicated GET increase of the same amount allocated for rail to be used instead to stimulate and expedite road and bike lane construction?

My position is to offer the motoring public something rather than nothing. Here is a quick snapshot of how inadequate our current methodology for funding roads and bike lanes really is.

The North South Road- Kualaka`i Parkway on the Ewa Plain cost taxpayers over $170 million to build. The State gets $140 million a year total from the federal government for road building endeavors statewide. The amount of money needed for road building is so insufficient that Governor Lingle had to “borrow” – leverage federal funding that we did not have just to pay the workers to finish Kualaka`i Parkway. On top of that, we have bike plan after bike plan that yields next to nothing but talk and a wish list.

I await your feedback. My last e-newsletter had a glitch on the link to access the RAIL MEETING press release- so reposting below.


An attempt to end the lawsuit against the rail project and offer us a superior rail system can be found in Resolution 11-258. Watch a 40-minute discussion on Monorail and Maglev technology covered at our town hall meeting that took place on August 31- to air on television the next few weeks Mondays at 2p.m. on Olelo channel 54, and again on Sunday, October 9, at 6pm. My website is www.councilmanberg.com features more videos on this endeavor.

Our next TOWN HALL MEETING will pit pro and con rail folks head-to-head to face-off in a public forum scheduled to be held at the Mission Memorial Auditorium on the grounds of Honolulu Hale on December 6, from 6-8:30 p.m. See [PRESS RELEASE and INVITED SPEAKERS].


Constituents from Hu’elani subdivision submitted a complaint regarding noise levels coming from the Pueo Restaurant at the Coral Creek Golf Course during late evening and early morning hours on weekends. A site visit was made by Councilmember Berg’s staff and an interview with Mr. Kim (the manager) revealed that he is aware of the noise complaint and is committed to being a good neighbor. He explained that the City had been to the Golf Course restaurant and was told that he would need a permit for the tent located on the Pueo restaurant patio area. He has an existing temporary permit for the tent that puts the issue in compliance and a Building Permit for construction of another enclosed room that will eventually replace the tent. Mr. Kim is currently taking bids at this time for the construction that will address the noise abatement issue.


Please don’t forget to send in your comments on this for the hearing on the 27th of September or show up to the meeting itself.