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Councilmember Calvin Say Talks Frustrations With Honolulu Rail

Robert 'Aukai Reynolds
City & County of Honolulu - HART

Monday marked the 20th week that former Hawai‘i House Speaker Calvin Say has been on the Honolulu City Council, where he also heads the Budget Committee.

Just last week, the committee tweaked the budget for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation—the group tasked with constructing the Honolulu rail, planned to stretch from Kapolei to Ala Moana.

Say is calling on more public discussion around the project’s financing amid his frustrations with the rail.

On the call to pause the project at Middle Street, Say said, "I said to Lori [Kahikina of HART] that if nothing is done by the end of this year, it's a pause, or even coming to some resolution about—we have to come up with a plan of action in regards to stabilizing our revenue. If not, if there is no revenue to pay off the operations and the capital improvement project, let's pause, let's see where we're at."

Say also worked at the state Legislature when it approved funding the project using a portion of the general excise and hotel room taxes. Now, the public construction project is the costliest in Hawai‘i's history.

This story aired on The Conversation on June 8, 2021. Various critics, supporters and government officials have also joined The Conversation to share their thoughts about the rail project.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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