Local Connection: Rail Fail - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Connection: Rail Fail

There is plenty of blame to go around about the failure of the legislature to come up with a plan to fill the funding shortfall for Honolulu rail.

The Mayor clearly miscalculated the resistance to his request for an extended rail tax. Maybe he didn't work hard enough to help lawmakers find common ground.  

It wouldn't have been easy.

It would have taken artful persuasion and compromise.  But that's a skill we expect of our Mayor.

Both the House and Senate had leadership failures.  A majority in the senate wanted to extend the rail tax, but the Ways and Means chairwoman refused to accept that. That confused negotiations and undermined the senate's bargaining power. 

The House leadership seemed so intent on punishing the Mayor they pushed legislation to raid the Honolulu treasury and raise hotel taxes for rail without any chance for public comment.  

And even as the situation cried for a leader to step forward -- the Governor chose to remain above the fray. Despite speaking words to support the project…he seems perfectly willing to see it fail.

Lawmakers promise they will try again in a special session, but are vague on a timeline, while the federal government examines a financial plan that remains well over a billion dollars in the red.

This situation cannot wait until summer for a resolution.

Let's see a sincere effort to renew discussions soon. And put this irresponsible and disgraceful chapter behind us. 

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