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    December 2017
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Representative Cindy Evans’s Response to Questions on Special Session on Honolulu Rapid Transit System

Rep. Cindy Evans

Aloha Damon,
I understand you wish to get a pulse before special session.

At this time I will pass on answering your questions. There are currently too many options available and until I see the bill, I feel the questions are unrealistic.

Best Regards,

Cindy Evans


Aloha Rep. Evans

Mahalo for representing the Big Island in legislative issues. I have some questions for you folks and hope you will respond to me by Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Questions:
1. Will you vote YES or NO on a 1% STATEWIDE increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (9.25% to 10.25%) to help fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System in the upcoming legislative special session?
If your answer is YES, please explain why? If your answer is NO, please explain why?
2. Would you support a 6 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% from 2027 to 2034 if this will help fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO
3. Would you support an increase of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% to 0.62% and a 3 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge from 2028 to 2030 if this will fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO

Thank you for your participation in this quick and important decision that will affect all of us on this island.

Senator Josh Green’s Response to Questions on Special Session on Honolulu Rapid Transit System

Senator Josh Green

Thanks for asking Damon.
I need to see the actual proposals before I answer hypotheticals.

At this point the only tax I support for rail is an extension of the GET on Oahu, which I believe would need to be for 8 additional years.

Sincerely,

Josh

Aloha Sen. Green,

Mahalo for representing the Big Island in legislative issues. I have some questions for you folks and hope you will respond to me by Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Questions:

1. Will you vote YES or NO on a 1% STATEWIDE increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (9.25% to 10.25%) to help fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System in the upcoming legislative special session?
If your answer is YES, please explain why? If your answer is NO, please explain why?

2. Would you support a 6 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% from 2027 to 2034 if this will help fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO

3. Would you support an increase of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge of 0.5% to 0.62% and a 3 year extension of the Honolulu General Excise Tax Surcharge from 2028 to 2030 if this will fully fund the Honolulu Rapid Transit System without raising the Transient Accommodations Tax STATEWIDE?
YES or NO

I will be posting your answers (or non answer) on my website Hawaii News and Island Information (http://mauinotices.com) .

Thank you for your participation in this quick and important decision that will affect all of us on this island.

Honolulu Rail – One Down… Two-Hundred to Go

I recently had the opportunity to share a Go!Airlines flight with community organizer, musician and founder of the Men of Pa’a, Iopa “Bruddah Kuz” Maunakea, a few weeks ago and I asked him what he was doing over on Oahu.

Bruddah Kuz

He told me that he was “working on the rail… the Honolulu Rail”.

Well the other day he posted the following picture on Facebook and I asked him I could post this here on my site because I understand the importance of what this actually represents:

Honolulu Rail Column 65 (Copyright Iopa Maunakea use with permission only)

“Bruddah Kuz” stated on his Facebook page, “Strip the forms on column 65. One down and two hundred more to go…pretty impressive the view going be awesome….”

Congressional Candidate Marx on Honolulu Rail Project – “Impossible Financial Burden on the Entire State”

Bob Marx, Hilo attorney, bookstore owner, and candidate for Hawai‘i’s Second Congressional District, calls the Honolulu Rail Project an impossible financial burden on the entire state.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx

Speaking to a group of students in Pahoa today, Marx addressed the issue of the Honolulu rail project. “This is Mufi Hannemann’s pet project that he abandoned to run for governor, quite unsuccessfully I might add,” Marx began. “Now it appears another Honolulu politician, Tulsi Gabbard, has decided to take Mufi’s reigns and put the state deeper into financial crisis by supporting a $450,000,000 ‘paper’ loan,” Marx stated.

The original vote for the rail which passed in 2008 was for $3.7 billion and the rail was supposed to run from Kapolei to the University of Hawai‘i. Now, just the first step of the project will cost $5.3 billion, skip Salt Lake and not even get to the University.

“Gabbard continues to show her loyalty to the voters of the FIRST congressional district, which she rightfully should, as she represents many of them on the Honolulu Council. Gabbard and Mufi have no business running for a seat that encompasses the neighbor islands and should rightfully be running for the district in which they live. Both are asking Kaneohe, Kailua, Haleiwa, Wainae, Waimanalo, Makaha and the rest of rural Oahu to float the bill for this incredibly unpopular and untimely elevated train project,” Marx said, bluntly.

The city said they wouldn’t need the funds unless “the moon fell into the ocean.” Now, just a few months later, they are asking for these funds. “If this wasn’t serious business it would be laughable,” Marx quipped. “We still have the second highest per capita debt in the nation: $8000 for every man, woman and child living on the islands, and yet Honolulu wants to put us further in debt? I am happy to see Council Members Ann Kobayashi and Tom Berg opposing this impossible fiscal burden on the rest of the state.” Marx said.

Ka‘eo Malaka, a college student in Hilo, asked him what can be done to relieve the burden of traffic and congestion in Honolulu. “We can start with an improved bus system. We must prioritize support for the workers and those looking for work that don’t have transportation, not simply provide alternatives for those who do. This shouldn’t be about convenience–it should be about jobs–and this rail project does nothing to help traffic congestion in Honolulu or help people who are struggling with high fuel prices.”

Studies in cities with rail programs consistently show the same thing: when people are already using public transportation like buses, ride-shares, or light-rail, they become accustomed to not using their car and will jump on board a train. When they are not accustomed to using public transportation, the transition period is much longer and the costs and projected revenues take much longer than forecasts anticipated. The vote for the funding of the program is set for June 4th.

The Second Congressional District encompasses most of rural Oahu and all the neighbor islands. Mr. Marx, a Hilo attorney and long-time community activist, is running against Oahu residents Mufi Hannemann, Tulsi Gabbard, and Esther Kia‘aina and for the open seat. Marx lives in the district and is the only Candidate in the race from a county other than Honolulu.

Honolulu Rail – Sumitomo Corporation of America Decides Not To Appeal

Sumitomo Corporation of America (SCOA) has decided to not seek judicial review of the decision of the hearings officer of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA).   After careful consideration, the company has concluded that an appeal will not be in the best interests of Honolulu , SCOA, or the project at this point.

“As much as we still strongly disagree with the rulings that have been made so far, we felt it was time to step back and let the City go its course, said Gino Antoniello , Vice President, Sumitomo Corporation of America, Transportation Systems and Equipment Unit.  “As we stated from the beginning of our protest, it has never been our intention to hurt this project or stand in the way of it being built,” he added.

As the only qualified offeror, SCOA’s decision not to appeal should in no way be interpreted as loss of interest. To the contrary, SCOA will remain ready to fulfill its commitments should the City not be able to proceed with Ansaldo due to any problems that might prevent them from fulfilling their offer.

“SCOA has a heritage that spans over 400 years.  Longevity of this magnitude means that we do not make impulse decisions or engage in prolonged legal battles – even where we believe we are correct and, for this reason, we have decided not to appeal.  Hopefully our challenge has helped raise awareness and ensure success as it relates to this very important project so that the taxpayers of Honolulu will not have buyer’s remorse down the road”, said Antoniello.

SCOA presented its case that an award to Ansaldo does not represent the best value to the City. Even though the hearings officer dismissed SCOA’s appeal he acknowledged but did not address the merits of a number of concerns that were raised.

“We believe that these concerns, now well-known, should have continued scrutiny and would be best deliberated and considered by HART through its board and executive director, states Antoniello.  SCOA stands ready to proceed with the project and reaffirms its commitment to bring its experience, technology solution, and extensive proven track record for this project.”

City & County of Honolulu Rail Transit Press Conference FTA Commits $1.55 Billion

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