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June 2009

Mail-in Election for City Council Went Smoothly (Kim Langley)
Honoring Our Stalwart Members
State League Biennial Convention
At Honolulu's Annual Meeting in April
League Testimony on City Budget, May 18, 2009 (Pearl Johnson)
Mahalo Contributors
Affordable Housing Funds Cut (Jackie Parnell)
In Memoriam [Jerry Hess] (Carol Whitesell)
Calendar of Events

League Testimony on City Budget, May 18, 2009

At a marathon hearing on the City budget for FY 2010, over $1 billion was proposed for rail transit. Pearl Johnson prepared and presented the following testimony for the League:

The League has 2 major areas of concern which must be considered before any money is appropriated for the rail project: funding and outstanding unresolved issues relating to the project itself.

The City says it expects to receive $1.4 billion from the federal government. This amount has been variously estimated by the City to be as little as $600,000 to $900,000 to $1 billion to $1.2 billion. There is no certainty that any federal funds at all will be forthcoming.

Second, how much money has been collected by the increase in the GET? Is that money in the state or city coffers? Did the money the City has already spent on new hires, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, publicity, etc. come from our property taxes or from the GET funds?

Major issues identified and the source of most DEIS comments include elevated rail vs. street level, steel on steel system vs. lighter cheaper alternatives, and questions about the route including evicting Banana Patch residents for a parking lot.

The visual blight of elevated rail is a major issue raised by American Institute of Architecture among many others, including the League of Women Voters. Our major industry of tourism should also be concerned. What has Hawaii to offer that is greater than beauty?

The League has called for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to address the many questions left unanswered by the DEIS. Appropriating our tax money, no matter what the source, seems entirely premature at this time.

Pearl Johnson

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