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I know you are tired of the chatter on rail and want to move on the endeavor one way or the other. However, the assault on your pocketbook by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) to advance a rail scheme we cannot afford can be summarized in Bill 37.
Bill 37 passed committee yesterday and on June 6, will be voted on for third reading (final passage). If Bill 37 does not pass, then according to Councilmember Breene Harimoto, Chair of the Transportation Committee, rail is dead.
What is at stake? HART is exclaiming they need another $450 million to survive- and Bill 37 is that lifeline. This email comes to you with news that I have voted NO to Bill 37 each step of the way and here are just two reasons why:
1. The State Legislature has commandeered - or rather profiteered off of the rail surcharge by collecting over $100 million more than necessary to administer the tax for rail. I asked HART representatives yesterday at the council hearing if they are trying to recoup those funds . . . the answer, was - no, no effort has been made, not even a request for the funds.
2. HART signed off on a contract with ANSALDO to build the rail cars, which in my opinion, was a means to overcharge the taxpayer by more than $241 million. In HART's grasp, was the opportunity to give the contract to Bombardier- the contractor that could build and maintain the rail cars for $241 million less than ANSALDO. I asked at the council hearing yesterday if HART is on Bombardiers side, the taxpayers' side, and striving to assist Bombardier in its lawsuit to expose the procurement process to ANSALDO was deeply flawed. HART exclaimed they are not fighting, doing absolutely nothing to garner those $241 million back in savings on behalf of the taxpayer.
As aforementioned above, I just came up with a means to recoup $341 million the taxpayers have already dished out and if you add the $15 million blunder from another deal gone bad on cost overruns already, you have the bulk of money Councilmember Breene Harimoto is claiming we need to make rail viable.
So instead of asking the taxpayers to take the risk and fork up another $450 million in credit, as Bill 37 proposes, I demand HART instead get back the $356 million it squandered first before asking for more. Obviously, the financial plan for the rail is more than weak, but a failure at best.
Please go to my website to watch numerous youtubes on the ANSALDO contract that scammed $241 million from the taxpayer - www.councilmanberg.com
If you watch the full 2-hour hearing here, you too, will be in tears afterwards how Bombardier got conned and we, the taxpayer, are paying for it.
To support my claim that the contract to ANSALDO was a ploy to scam us, to rip us off by $241 million, just read below and visit the article covered in the Hawaii Reporter. Remember now, ANSALDO never had a license to do business in Hawaii during the ordeal and could have been disqualified, but HART did not care and plowed ahead. READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE.
Here is a quote from Bombardier:
"We truly hope that this letter helps Board members understand the
reasons why Bombardier's proposal should be fully considered. The
Honolulu Rail project is too important to the future of the City not
to be done right. The HART Board of Directors has the chance now to
make this right, restore public trust in the process and act in the
interests of the taxpayers. We look forward to a solution that will
benefit all of the citizens of Hawaii and that will ensure a
successful and affordable project for generations to come."
Andrew S. Robbins, P.E.
Vice President, Business Development
(Hawaii Contractor's License # CT-30643)
Mr. Andrew S. Robbins, P.E.
Senior Director, Project Development & Sales
P.O. Box 281317
679 McDonnell Road, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94128
RAIL: NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION
I just received this email and I am sharing it for your information. Click here to read the amicus brief.
Date: May 24, 2012
Media release: National Trust for Historic Preservation files amicus brief.
Contacts: Cliff Slater 285-7799, Randy Roth 561-1631
We are pleased to announce that late yesterday the congressionally chartered National Trust for Historic Preservation filed an amicus brief in support of our lawsuit, Honolulutraffic.com et al vs. FTA and the City of Honolulu. A copy of the brief is attached.
Some excerpts from their 32-page brief follow:
"This lawsuit addresses the failure of federal, state, and local agencies to comply with Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act - among other serious legal deficiencies - in connection with the permitting of the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project ("Project").
"This massive elevated rail project will cut through the historic core of Honolulu, Hawaii, and will also adversely affect other historic properties along its 20-mile length, including the Pearl Harbor National Historic Landmark District.
"Unlike other federal historic preservation laws, such as the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, Section 4(f) contains a substantive prohibition on the construction of transportation projects requiring the "use" of historic sites, park and recreational areas, and wildlife and waterfowl refuges, unless (1) there is no prudent and feasible alternative to using the resources and (2) the project includes all possible planning to minimize harm."
The National Trust for Historic Preservation (www.preservationnation.org), a privately funded nonprofit organization, provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to save America's diverse historic places and revitalize our communities.
Recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the Trust was founded in 1949, and now has more than 300,000 members and supporters nationwide. Staff at the Washington, D.C., headquarters, field offices and 29 historic sites work with members from coast to coast, and with thousands of preservation groups in all 50 states.
The support of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the most important national organization in the field of historic preservation, will be most helpful to our efforts in defeating the Honolulu rail project.