What I think:

If I am fortunate to be elected mayor of Honolulu, I am going to do something that has not been done in four years:  I am going to be HONEST with you about rail.

I am going to open those books and be honest with our City Council, be honest with our State Legislature, be honest with the FTA and most of all, I am going to be honest with all of you, the residents of Oahu, because you deserve to know the reality of this project.

At this point, we can’t stop the rail project.  Too much of this system has already been built and tearing down what has been already constructed will likely cost as much as completing the project.  While we need to finish the project, we must control the cost.  The incumbent mayor’s “plan” to do nothing and just stay the course of endless cost overruns and non-stop delays doesn’t make sense.  Instead, we deserve a mayor who will actively work to eliminate rail mismanagement of rushing construction contracts for political purposes, buying rail cars years before they are needed and hiring mainland consultants who know nothing about local construction conditions.  While Caldwell has accepted over $700,000 in campaign contributions from rail contractors, I am beholden to no one except you to finally fix rail and get it back on track.

Kirk Caldwell asks HART to focus on ending rail at Middle street.

See the article here.

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Charles believes we need to: 

  • Honor the commitment made to the people of the City and County of Honolulu to provide a mass transit solution from Kapolei to Ala Moana.
  • Build rail with the resources our community can afford, not the unlimited blank check Caldwell wants to give rail contractors.
  • Hold the government accountable by vetoing any tax increases above the $7 billion already allocated for the rail project. Charles has never voted for a tax increase and will not allow the rail project to be built on the backs of hard-working families and seniors. $7 billion has got to be enough for the $5 billion project.  The people have paid our fair share to support rail, it is time for the City to fix its incompetent handling of the rail project.
  • Use his connections as a former Congressman to work on finding a means to expand the Federal support for Honolulu transit.
  • Stop the mismanagement of the rail project by building the project based on engineering rather than politics.  No more rushing contracts to fit an election timeline or purchasing rail cars years before they are needed or hiring dozens of six-figure salary mainland consultants who know little about Hawaii construction conditions.
  • Work cooperatively and collaboratively with the City Council. Having been a councilmember for 7 years, Charles knows how to work with the Council and has been endorsed by Councilmember Ann Kobayashi, as well as Governor Ben Cayetano and former chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Judge Walter Heen.
  • Fight to end the unfair 10% state skim on rail funds.

Kirk Caldwell believes:

  • Caldwell said he would build rail on time and on budget. Not true. 

– Rail is at least 5 years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.

  • Caldwell said the rail system will be fully paid for when completed. Not true.

– Experts predict that “billions of dollars” will be needed to operate the rail system once it’s running.

  • Caldwell said rail would create 10,000 local jobs. Not true.

– Rail has created less than 1,000 local jobs.

  • Caldwell said a five-year extension of the excise tax would be more than enough to cover rail cost- overruns. Not true.

– Caldwell gave misleading figures to gain acceptance for the tax increase.

It’s already so expensive to live in Hawaii. Many people live paycheck to paycheck, or on a fixed income, but Caldwell not only lobbied for a general excise tax increase, Caldwell also wanted you to pay a trash tax and to pay more gas taxes.