Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Inouye: Honolulu Can 'Count On' Federal Rail $$s

Honolulu rail has a friend in Congress who says federal funding for the project is safe as long as he has anything to say about it.

He, of course, is Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI), the longest-serving member of the United States Senate and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Residents joke about saying prayers for DKI’s health each night, but it’s no joke that Senator Inouye is in the inner circle of power people in Washington and wields enormous influence over where federal dollars are sent around the country. He’s known for ensuring that large numbers of them come to Hawaii.

Home from the capital during the August recess, Mr. Inouye held a press conference yesterday and said Honolulu “should count on” the $1.55 billion in federal funds it’s planning on for the $5.3 billion project.

“I will most certainly discuss this matter with the appropriate committee,” Inouye said – his typically understated way of saying “it’s a lock.”

Bombardier Pondering

Bombardier, one of the three firms to submit a bid on the Honolulu rail system, is still thinking through its next steps after receiving its latest rejection slip.

The city dismissed the company’s bid, and Bombardier appealed that action to the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. The hearing officer rejected that appeal, and now the company says it will “seriously consider” going to court over the latest rejection. Civil Beat has posted Vice President Andy Robbins’ statement.

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