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The Latest: 4 Deaths, 110 New Cases; DOE Furloughs Coming; Details Of Rail's P3 Bids Released

Honolulu Rapid Transit Facebook Page

Updated 12/16/20, 1:21 p.m.

The state Department of Health reported 110 new cases and four fatalities today.

According to the state's numbers, O?ahu had 85 new cases, Maui 14, Hawai?i County 5, Kaua?i, Lanai and Moloka?i had none.

The latest state counts bring the O?ahu total to 16,543, Hawai?i County 1,748, Maui 728, Kaua?i 134, Lanai 106 and Moloka?i 22. The number of out-of-state cases totals 309.

Since the pandemic began, the state has tallied 19,590 cases. The death toll stands at 278.

Department of Education furloughs start on Jan. 4

January 4 will be the first day of furloughs for employees of the state Department of Educatoin. 

That's according to a memo that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto sent to all department employees on Monday night. 

Under the plan, teachers and others who work 10 months a year will average one day of furloughs per month, while 12-month employees -- including principals -- will be furloughed for ten days in the period between January and the end of June.

Kishimoto say sthe first furlough dates will be January 4 and February 12.

She says that further dates will be added through June "if Governor Ige determines that circumstances require continuation of the furlough." 

Kishimoto says the furlough implementation plans have been shared with the Hawaii State Board of Education, Hawaii Government Employees Association, Hawaii State Teachers Association and the United Public Workers, "in a good faith effort to mitigate the impact on all employees."

P3 Bids for Honolulu's rail project released

Details of the two bids to construct and manage the final 4.2 miles of Honolulu's rail project have been released. The priority listed offerors (PLO) bidding on the city center project were City Center Connection Group and Imua Transit Honolulu.

According to the city, both bids were more than a billion dollars higher than the affordability limit -- the highest the city was willing to accept -- to design and build the rail project from Dillingham Boulevard to Ala Moana Center.

"Both came in . . . almost $1.3 billion above the affordability limits. That was 60% higher than anticipated," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell during a press conference yesterday afternoon. "And to get that price down, it would be nearly impossible."

Caldwell says while the bids were higher, there was only a 2% difference between the two.

Another portion of the P3 contract was the 30-year operation and management of the city center portion. City Center Connection Group estimated the cost over 30 years to operate and manage the 4.2 mile stretch would be $2.878 billion. While Imua Transit Honolulu estimated it would be $2.257 billion.

The city's target was $2.340 billion, with a limit of $2.6 billion.

Earlier this year, Caldwell withdrew the city from a public-private partnership that would have awarded a contract to build the rail project in O?ahu's urban core. He cited delays and a lack of transparency as reasons for the withdrawal.

Despite the city's action and objections from rail authority board members, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation CEO Andy Robbins continued pursuing a P3 contract with the two bidders, while also trying to convince city officials the partnership was the best option.

It wasn't until November 22 that Robbins officially canceled the public-private partnership -- ending a two-year process. 

The city and HART are under a tight federal deadline. The Federal Transit Administration gave the city and HART until the end of the year to award the P3 contract or else risk losing $250 million in federal funds. 

Caldwell and Robbins sent a letter to the FTA requesting a deadline extension. Whether or not the FTA will grant the extension is yet to be determined.

A copy of the city's letter to HART outlining concerns with the bids can be found below:

-- HPR's Casey Harlow

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