KAPOLEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - "I guarantee you this - I'm going to do my damndest to see that money comes in," Sen. Daniel Inouye said.
His bold statement Thursday was to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, the board overseeing Oahu's rail project. He tempered it with a sobering sentence. He said given the nation's economy he can't guarantee full-funding from the Federal government.
"It should be okay. But to predict an absolute outcome, only a fool would do that," he said.
Inouye told the board members meeting at Kapolei Hale that if he can't deliver federal funds for rail, he should be cursed. The city hopes to land $1.5 billion from Washington and the Federal Transit Administration.
"After all, I'm chairman of the Appropriations Committee. In that position I might have a few points," he said, jokingly.
But board member Damien Kim pressed Inouye further on whether FTA administrator Peter Rogoff backs the project.
"Are you satisfied that the FTA is leaning forward to support Honolulu?" he asked.
"I'm convinced, and I think those of you who know him would agree with me that he's our friend," Inouye said.
At times Inouye appeared to lecture the nine-member board, especially on the topic of transparency.
"If something goes haywire -- say so," he said.
Inouye said whenever he's on Oahu for more than three days he drives to the leeward coast and Kapolei to experience traffic firsthand.
"I have many reasons for wanting to have this transit," he said.
This was Inouye's first appearance before the HART board.