Thursday, June 8, 2017

Rail bonds approved, Honolulu council hikes bus, parking, weight fees, Big Island gas tax hike advances, interim schools superintendent named, Maui mulls sand mining moratorium, Kauai studies landfill, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation
Rail construction, courtesy Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation
Construction of Honolulu’s beleaguered rail project likely will proceed past January, now that it’s squeaked out a sixth, pivotal City Council vote required to float bonds and help keep the work on track. The Council’s 6-3 decision on Wednesday, which hinged on Councilman Trevor Ozawa’s swing vote, authorizes up to $350 million in city general obligation bonds for rail. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council approved a measure Wednesday to ensure construction of the rail project can continue through June 2018 by issuing up to $350 million in bonds, although there is still no long-term revenue source to finish the $10 billion, 20-mile line. Civil Beat.

The city's controversial rail project survived a crucial vote Wednesday at Honolulu Hale -- one that could have shut down all construction and operations within a couple months. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu's financially troubled rail transit project will be able to issue bonds to keep it afloat through the end of the year. KITV.

The city council voted on a number of measures Wednesday night that could bring in much needed funding to the Honolulu rail project. KHON2.

Hawaii’s newly appointed schools superintendent says she has her sights set on raising student achievement in the islands above the rest of the country’s public schools. Star-Advertiser.

The future superintendent of Hawaii schools — and the high school principal who will serve as interim schools chief for a month until she starts her job Aug. 1 — spoke briefly to the media Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Keith Hayashi, Waipahu High School’s principal who has been serving as interim deputy superintendent since March, has been tapped to lead the public school system as interim superintendent until Aug. 1, the Department of Education announced Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

A new report from Pew Research Center shows that Hawaii had the most multiracial and multiethnic births in the nation at 44 percent in 2015. Civil Beat.

Only four restaurants from the entire state of Hawaii were recognized on OpenTable's 100 Best Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in America, a list of the best outdoor dining restaurants in the country. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Motor vehicle weight taxes, bus fares and parking rates will go up under a 2018 budget package approved by the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu residents will have to pay more to drive and park as the result of City Council action Wednesday to balance the 2018 fiscal year budget. Civil Beat.

In Wednesday's Honolulu City Council meeting, the council approved a bill for a one-time increase on city bus fares. KITV.

The City Council voted Wednesday to override Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s veto on a bill that would block the transfer of Thomas Square to the Department of Enterprise Services from the Department of Parks and Recreation, citing concerns that the move could commercialize much-needed green space. Star-Advertiser.

The City Council advanced a measure Wednesday that would allow a Waikiki nonprofit group to set transportation policies, handle curb and parking enforcement, and build parking garages and other transportation-related structures in the state’s No. 1 tourist destination. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council chose not to pass a bill Wednesday to close a loophole in the city’s plastic bag ban. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council has decided it needs more time to decide whether to strengthen Oahu’s plastic bag ban. KHON2.

A controversial measure to ban all plastic shopping bags has been shelved by the Honolulu City Council. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu City Council has again deferred action on a bill that would require retailers to charge a fee for checkout bags and ban so-called compostable plastic bags. Star-Advertiser.

Libraries are popping up across the country, but they’re not lending books. They’re lending tools. The HNL Tool Library is part of a nationwide movement prioritizing access to tools over ownership. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

A gas tax hike is probably coming to a pump near you, but there will be less of an immediate sticker shock following the County Council’s 8-1 vote Wednesday to spread Mayor Harry Kim’s requested increase more evenly throughout the next three years. West Hawaii Today.

The Hilo landfill isn’t closed yet, but Hawaii County already was approached about using it for a solar farm once it’s capped, officials told the County Council on Wednesday. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Council members on Wednesday rejected for a second and final time a controversial resolution claiming historical discrimination against low-income and Native Hawaiian residents of Puna and Ka‘u. Tribune-Herald.

Millions of dollars will be spent upgrading Hilo International Airport throughout the next two years. Tribune-Herald.

As Hawaii’s congressional delegation rallies around Kona coffee farmer and undocumented immigrant Andres Magana Ortiz as he faces deportation to Mexico, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard took the effort a step further on Wednesday, taking the cause to the floor of the House and urging Congress to pass a ‘private bill’ she introduced this week to help Magana Ortiz. Big Island Video News.

The Waimea family and community man facing deportation was given 45 days to take care of his affairs before he has to leave Hawaii Island. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council is taking steps on a sand mining moratorium. KHON2.

Department of Liquor Control Director Glenn Mukai said Wednesday that the department isn’t changing any of its rules for nonprofit liquor licenses — it’s just complying with state laws that have been in place since 2008. Maui News.

Members of the Maui Police Department Traffic Section along with assistance from patrol officers conducted a two week operation from May 22 to June 4, 2017 targeting seatbelt, child restraint and pick-up truck restriction violations. Maui Now.

For weeks, Minerva Martinez dreaded Wednesday, a day of reckoning for the 47-year-old Mexican immigrant who was ordered to report for possible deportation. Civil Beat.

Kauai

Consulting group presents findings on makeup of Kekaha Landfill. Garden Island.

Sen. Brian Schatz has a list of items he wants to help fund on the Garden Isle. Garden Island.

Two important ocean safety communication pieces are available to businesses on Kauai. Garden Island.