HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - City officials are scrambling to find $44 million for the rail project after an alarming phone call with the federal government Wednesday morning.
The city was told that it must put $44 million into the rail budget by next month. That’s a lot faster than the council was moving to approve borrowing the money.
“The FTA said loud and clear ... that they want to see funds in hand, ready to use with no further action required by Nov. 20, 2018,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said.
Mayor Caldwell blamed council leaders for the problem by not following through, but Budget Chairman Trevor Ozawa said the mayor has mishandled discussions with the feds.
“I am profoundly disappointed that it’s gotten to this point and that the city is now in a predicament of having to come up with $44 million in cash in a very short period of time,” councilman Ron Menor said.
The cash for rail may have to come from property tax funds, a source which the council has resisted using before.
Federal funding for the project could be in jeopardy if the deadline is not met.