Hawaiian $1 billion-a-mile rail boondoggle a warning to Biden 'Build Back' plan

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  texan1211  •  one month ago  •  28 comments

By:   Paul Bedard (MSN)

Hawaiian $1 billion-a-mile rail boondoggle a warning to Biden 'Build Back' plan
He loves trains and wants to spend $80 billion for rail projects in his $2.2 trillion infrastructure goal, but today a top GOP lawmaker is flashing a yellow warning light at President Biden's plan, citing the example of a massive boondoggle and decades-delayed "shovel ready" project.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



He loves trains and wants to spend $80 billion for rail projects in his $2.2 trillion infrastructure goal, but today a top GOP lawmaker is flashing a yellow warning light at President Biden's plan, citing the example of a massive boondoggle and decades-delayed "shovel ready" project.

© Cathy Bussewitz/AP In this May 18, 2017, file photo, a rail line under construction winds through the Honolulu suburb of Aiea, Hawaii. Honolulu is building one of the nation's most expensive rail lines to address some of the nation's worst traffic but tax revenue declines during the pandemic and spiraling costs mean it doesn't currently have enough money to finish the 20-mile route as planned.

In latest uncovering of federal pork for her "Make 'em squeal award," Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst pointed to a long-delayed and way over budget 20-mile rail project in Hawaii to caution a rush to spend federal tax dollars freely in infrastructure projects touted as ready to go by local governments.

"This rail service began as one of those 'shovel ready' projects funded by the Obama-Biden stimulus program a decade ago. While never completed, it's still digging a deeper money pit for taxpayer dollars," she said.

Initially set to be completed in January 2020 for $5.1 billion, the 20-mile rail line now might not be ready until 2033 and cost at least $21 billion. And, said Ernst, to dig into the Biden spending plan, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation plans to spend $1 million on lobbyists.

With promises of infrastructure riches, lobbyists are working with state and local government clients to rush their proposals to Washington for the Biden plan which sets aside a small percentage of the $2.2 trillion for traditional projects like rail, roads and bridges.

Just as former President Obama did in 2009, so-called "shovel ready" projects are expected to be prioritized. Biden also wants them to be "shovel-worthy," according to officials.

But Ernst is eager for the administration and lawmakers to look deeper at the projects before signing contracts.

Her concerns are rooted in other boondoggles she's uncovered, notably California's estimated $100 billion high speed rail project that the administration has cited as an example of projects it wants to support.

Instead of Biden's slogan of "Build Back Better," said Ernst, "I vote we change the slogan to: 'Bailout Bankrupt Boondoggles.' That's more appropriate for Washington's track record of finding new ways to fund failed projects."

And citing the Hawaii rail project's failings, she pushed for passage of her "Billion Dollar Boondoggle Ban Act" to stop federal spending on projects $1 billion or more over budget or five years or more behind schedule, and the "Earmark Elimination Act" to stop lawmakers from spending on pet projects.

Tags:Washington Secrets, Joe Biden, Biden Administration, Railroads, Hawaii, Joni Ernst, 100 Days Infrastructure, Infrastructure, Infrastructure Week

Original Author:Paul Bedard

Original Location:Hawaiian $1 billion-a-mile rail boondoggle a warning to Biden 'Build Back' plan


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Texan1211
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Texan1211    one month ago

Ah, the old "shovel-ready" hype and lie!

Biden Administration = Obama's Third Term

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
PhD Participates
2  Dismayed Patriot    one month ago

" The designs weren’t ready. Construction was delayed. The bids were too high. Tax revenue dropped. Federal funds never arrived. The CEO was let go. And despite some rosy predictions, no part of the Honolulu rail system ever opened to the public in 2020 as promised."

" Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation spent much of 2020 anxiously awaiting the results of a complex solicitation for a public-private partnership, or P3 agreement, but that effort failed in the end."

"P3 agreements are unusual for government entities in Hawaii, and this one was understood to be a gamble. "

" For years, transit officials have flagged Dillingham Boulevard and its nearly two-mile long gantlet of utility lines as a major obstacle to building rail."

So firstly, taking the transit project in Hawaii as somehow indicative of transit projects is beyond moronic. Why not use the successful transit systems that have been built like Seattle, WA., Richmond, VA. or Hartford, CT.?

The Honolulu project was a gamble from the start, and it hasn't paid off. It was a pie in the sky long shot and they missed. But that certainly shouldn't be any reason to abandon other US cities that could definitely benefit from a mass transit system or the thousands of jobs that come along with rebuilding infrastructure.

Second, Republicans seem determined to hate anything and everything the Democrats suggest because they fear Democrats being successful which would weaken Republican voter confidence and turn even more people away from the failing and flailing party of conservatives who abandoned their morals to chase the tail of a loud mouthed swindler and crook.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @2    one month ago

Wow, just can't let your former President go.

Sad.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
PhD Participates
2.1.1  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1    one month ago
Wow, just can't let your former President go.

I'm curious, how long after Bill Clinton left office were conservative Republicans still bitching about him? Oh, that's right, they still haven't stopped and it's been over 20 years. Trump has been out of office for not quite four months and his effect within the Republican party is still palpable, in fact many of his supporters are still claiming he didn't lose the election or are clamoring for his return. Yet, all I have to say is "loud mouth swindler and crook" (yet you knew exactly who I was talking about) and that's all you can focus on in my comment, now that's truly sad.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.1.2  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @2.1.1    one month ago

what is sad to me is when people are so obsessed with someone that it hinders their ability to hold a normal conversation.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
PhD Participates
2.1.3  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1.2    one month ago
what is sad to me is when people are so obsessed with someone that it hinders their ability to hold a normal conversation.

That would make me sad too, but that's obviously irrelevant since 99% of my comment had nothing to do with the former President, yet the 1% was the only thing you commented on. If that was your attempt at having a conversation then I am truly sorry for you.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.1.4  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @2.1.3    one month ago

and yet, you demonstrated your obsession by including snide remarks about your former President because you just couldn't control yourself!

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
2.1.5  Ozzwald  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1.4    one month ago
and yet, you demonstrated your obsession by including snide remarks about your former President because you just couldn't control yourself

You do see that this "boondoggle" was from years, right?  Including POTUS from the previous 4 years.  Who was POTUS over the last 4 years?

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.1.6  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.5    one month ago

Jesus h christ, dude. who said anything about the President, current or past, being responsible????

get that tds under control!!!

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
PhD Participates
2.1.7  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1.6    one month ago
Jesus h christ, dude. who said anything about the President, current or past, being responsible????

You're kidding right? The seed that you seeded mentions "GOP lawmaker is flashing a yellow warning light at President Biden's plan" "projects funded by the Obama-Biden stimulus" "dig into the Biden spending plan" "proposals to Washington for the Biden plan" "Just as former President Obama did in 2009" "Biden also wants them" "Biden's slogan of "Build Back Better," so that's 7 times where current and former Presidents are being saddled with this one State mismanaged transit project. It's telling that your only response has been to accuse me of having TDS as you obviously had no counter argument for what I pointed out. Talk about sad.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.1.8  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @2.1.7    one month ago

see, there are a few of us who know that money may have been allocated under a certain President, but that he doesn't really get a say in how it is spent at the state level.

Hawaii state officials are the ones responsible.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
2.1.9  Ozzwald  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1.8    one month ago

Hawaii state officials are the ones responsible.

jo63iNq.gif

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.1.10  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.9    one month ago

Come on, dude---$1 BILLION per mile for a train that is currently serving absolutely no one other than the bureaucrats need for money?

And that is Democratic "good government"!

You should be so proud, but if you aren't yet, perhaps look at California's massive overruns for their pie-in-the-sky train dreams.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
2.1.11  Ozzwald  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1.10    one month ago
Come on, dude---$1 BILLION per mile for a train that is currently serving absolutely no one other than the bureaucrats need for money? And that is Democratic "good government"!

It appears that you do not understand the meaningmy little gif.

YOU seeded an article that is trying to blame the current Biden administration on something that was started years ago, as pointed out by Dismayed Patriot..

When it was pointed out, your response was: "Hawaii state officials are the ones responsible".

My gif merely shows you backpedaling from the accusation that YOUR seeded article was trying to make.

I agree that the buck stops at Hawaii, but that is not what YOUR seeded article is trying to say.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.1.12  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.11    one month ago

If the buck stops with Hawaii, as I clearly stated, why are you arguing with me?

that is plain old silly.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
2.1.13  Ozzwald  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1.12    one month ago
If the buck stops with Hawaii, as I clearly stated, why are you arguing with me?

As I said, YOUR seeded article says otherwise.  Why would you seed an article that you disagree with?

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.1.14  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.13    one month ago

You called the article an attack on Biden, but it simply isn't.

In fact, look at this excerpt:

He loves trains and wants to spend $80 billion for rail projects in his $2.2 trillion infrastructure goal, but today a top GOP lawmaker is flashing a yellow warning light at President Biden's plan, citing the example of a massive boondoggle and decades-delayed "shovel ready" project.

And this:

In latest uncovering of federal pork for her "Make 'em squeal award," Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst pointed to a long-delayed and way over budget 20-mile rail project in Hawaii to caution a rush to spend federal tax dollars freely in infrastructure projects touted as ready to go by local governments.

"This rail service began as one of those 'shovel ready' projects funded by the Obama-Biden stimulus program a decade ago. While never completed, it's still digging a deeper money pit for taxpayer dollars," she said.

Initially set to be completed in January 2020 for $5.1 billion, the 20-mile rail line now might not be ready until 2033 and cost at least $21 billion. And, said Ernst, to dig into the Biden spending plan, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation plans to spend $1 million on lobbyists.

Now, just because you choose to not understand what was written doesn't mean it isn't true or not in the article.

Not blaming Biden exactly, now is it?

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Principal
2.2  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @2    one month ago

Why not use the successful transit systems that have been built like Seattle, WA., Richmond, VA. or Hartford, CT.?

Rhetorical question I presume?  By Republican standards, the best way to address infrastructure is to ignore it until it falls down, then blame any Democrat or Democrat led initiative for their own malfeasance.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3  seeder  Texan1211    one month ago

California's magic train is way behind schedule and grossly over budget, too.

Wonder why California and Hawaii didn't use the examples of those built in Seattle, Richmond, and Hartford?

 
 
 
Ronin2
Senior Quiet
3.1  Ronin2  replied to  Texan1211 @3    one month ago

Because it is about the money; not actually getting anything useful built.

Leave it Democrats. Can't fund or build a border wall to help stem the flow of illegal immigration; but can throw a shit load of pork a fail (sorry rail) projects that will never get off the ground and cost billions in overrun costs.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
4  Tacos!    one month ago

Investing in infrastructure projects can be great for the community or the country. In the past, they have been. But these days, it takes decades to get anything done, and the cost seems invariably to be several multiples of the original projected cost. I’ll die of old age before California builds its fancy train no one asked for.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
5  Vic Eldred    one month ago

Federal money comes with federal regulations. States need lawyers and lots of time if they accept the money.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
6  Thrawn 31    one month ago

I am thinking g we should take some lessons from China, or really any other country on earth when it comes to building rail/high-speed rail lines. Apparently we are the most inept motherfuckers on the planet when it comes to that, so let’s put aside the exceptionalism nonsense and consult the people who have done it significantly faster and significantly cheaper and, oh yeah, have functioning rail/high-speed rail lines.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
6.1  JohnRussell  replied to  Thrawn 31 @6    one month ago
Apparently we are the most inept motherfuckers on the planet when it comes to that, so let’s put aside the exceptionalism nonsense and consult the people who have done it significantly faster and significantly cheaper and, oh yeah, have functioning rail/high-speed rail lines.

I assume it is corruption rather than ineptitude that has prevented high speed rail in America. 

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
6.2  Tacos!  replied to  Thrawn 31 @6    one month ago

Or Japan. California is struggling to work through the mountains surrounding the LA area, but Japan is thick with both mountains and high speed rail. 

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
6.2.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  Tacos! @6.2    one month ago

Hehe, honestly just about every single developed country on earth does it better than we do. China, Japan, Korea, France, Germany, the list goes on. I just don’t get how these countries can do it with little to no trouble, and yet we look like we have never seen a railroad track in the entire history of our country, much less actually laid any down.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
6.2.2  Tacos!  replied to  Thrawn 31 @6.2.1    one month ago

I think one reason we’re so inefficient is because you need an Environmental Impact Study just to wipe your ass around here. There’s seemly no limit to the public hearings and the court challenges. I’m a fan of due process and democracy and all that, but you can overdo even a good thing.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Masters Guide
6.2.3  Thrawn 31  replied to  Tacos! @6.2.2    one month ago

Agreed. It definitely seems that in states like California the regulation has gone waaaay overboard. Bill Maher actually hit on this pretty clearly when bitching about how long it took him to have solar power hooked up to his house.

Again, let’s take a look at what our peers are doing as DT as regulation goes and borrow form that, because apparently it is enough to keep their countries looking pretty AND not so much that they can still get shit done.

Do t look at China when it comes to environmental regulation though, cuz, bleh.

 
 
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