Thursday’s guests were Mayor Peter Carlisle, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Interim Executive Director Toru Hamayasu and Makakilo resident Maeda Timson, a former neighborhood board chair who's president of the Go Rail Go group.
After making the introductions, host Beth-Ann Kozlovich noted that Ansaldo, the company selected by the city to supply trains and operate the system, has paid a $150,000 fine for not being a licensed contractor when it first bid on the project. She said it prompts questions about Ansaldo’s reliability and asked the Mayor, “Are you satisfied beyond any doubt that Ansaldo is still the best choice, categorically?
Hamayasu: “The one added element to this was the (HART) board had requested us to have a third-party counsel – outside lawyers – be hired and go through the bond document, so that’s what we’re doing right now. So once that’s done, then we have no reason to hold up, to execute the contract.” He said the city is now in the 30-day period it has to evaluate Ansaldo's package and bond.
Kozlovich said that even with all the local officials’ trips to Washington for meetings and oversight, there's still a chance something will go awry with Honolulu rail.
Rail opponents Slater and Roth, two members of the so-called Gang of Four, used the “heavy rail” term to describe Honolulu rail 26 times during their appearance on the one-hour “Town Square” show. Carlisle said the use of “heavy rail” to describe Honolulu rail is misleading and conjures up imagines that are not applicable here.
Carlisle quoted from a national Sierra Club report called Missing the Train: “We will enjoy benefits, including better air and water quality, greater public health, less sprawl and more independence for our aging population.” “Kevin” responded that the local chapter hasn’t endorsed Honolulu rail, and Kozlovich attempted to summarize the Sierra Club’s position on rail transit – that the Sierra Club nationally has made supportive statements about rail but the Sierra Club locally has not endorsed the rail project in Honolulu.
As blog posts go, transcriptions go long, so we’ll pick up with more of the “Town Square” transcript tomorrow – but not before jumping further into the show to address the Sierra Club issue with our own call to KIPO:
To Mr. Hamayasu: “Have you been lying all these years…?”
Come back tomorrow for his response.