Companies that lost in their bid for a lucrative rail contract are putting up a fight, while City Council members are down to the deadline wire for transit authority nominations. Civil Beat is reporting from the inside.

Gabbard Tamayo Unlikely To Deploy To Afghanistan

2:10 p.m.
The Hawaii Army National Guard unit with which City Council member Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo has twice deployed is facing another deployment to the Middle East. But the freshman City Council member said it’s unlikely — though not impossible — she would join the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team for a possible deployment to Afghanistan in 2013.

“That is the brigade I deployed with the last two times,” Gabbard Tamayo told Civil Beat. “I’m not currently in the 29th Brigade. The general rule of thumb is that if you wear the uniform, anything is possible. But the likelihood is low.”

The 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team returned from almost a year in Kuwait in August 2009. Before that, the unit was in Iraq.

Another Day, Another Rail Debrief

12:47 p.m.
Inside Honolulu just spotted one of rail company Bombardier‘s executives, Andy Robbins on the stairs up to the third floor of Honolulu Hale.

Robbins and his small entourage of four or five others is en route to a debrief about why Bombardier lost its bid to the city for a lucrative rail contract. The company was disqualified at the tail-end of the procurement process.

The vice president of another losing bidder, Sumitomo Corp. of America, told Civil Beat about its debrief with the city yesterday.

Read the full story.

City Sheds Light on $1.4 Billion Ansaldo Deal

11:42 a.m.
You wouldn’t know it from the press conference the city held March 21, or the press release it issued afterward, but the city’s Design Build Operate Maintain award to Ansaldo Honolulu is worth $1.4 billion.

To the city’s credit, that figure is posted on the city’s website.

A link on the web page about city agencies and departments leads to a table that breaks down contract awards thus far. Not all contracts are finalized.

Contract Description Awarded To Value Date
Kamehameha Highway Guideway Kiewit Infrastructure West $372,150,000 3/21/2011
Core Systems Design-Build-Operate-Maintain Ansaldo Honolulu JV $1,397,387,093 3/21/2011
Farrington Hwy Station Group Design HDR Engineering, Inc. $5,500,696 1/12/2011
LEED NC 2.2 Services Contract Enovity, Inc. $278,630 10/6/2010
Maintenance & Storage Facility Kiewit/Kobayashi $195,258,000 6/24/2010
West Oahu/Farrington Highway Guideway Kiewit Pacific Co. $482,924,000 10/21/2009
Drilled Shaft Load Test Program GEOLABS, INC. $1,418,500 6/30/2009
TOTAL $2,454,916,919

Civil Beat added the total, which comes to about $2.5 billion so far. City officials have cautioned adding up the numbers, as not all the costs — like hundreds of millions in operations and maintenance, for example — are considered part of the project’s $5.5 billion price tag.

Martin Proposes Across-the-Board Cuts to Mayor’s Budget

10:44 a.m.
City Council Budget Chair Ernie Martin and other City Council members proposed widespread cuts to the Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlise‘s $1.93 million operating budget.

Martin’s amendments include reducing departments’ overall spending by 1.5 percent.

Also on the chopping block: Vacant funded positions, money for overtime pay and out-of-state travel, funds for electricity and more.

Read the full story.

Read more from Civil Beat’s conversation about the budget with Ernie Martin, who said Mayor Carlisle’s spending plan does not truly represent “lean” government.

Council Down to the Wire on HART Nominees

5:44 a.m.
City Council Vice Chair Breene Harimoto said Monday evening he was still awaiting final word on council members’ nominations to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit. The deadline was Monday.

“Right now I need to see the final nine nominees,” Harimoto said. “The council chair and I will review the nine nominees and make our selection on the three names we’ll float through the council.”

Already, diverse names are in the mix for HART. The most political pick so far: vocal rail critic Panos Prevedouros told Civil Beat he accepted a nomination by Tom Berg.

City Council member Ann Kobayashi said she didn’t ask her nominee, Donald Takaki, whether he is a rail supporter.

“He’s been around a long time, in the transportation business,” Kobayashi said. “I don’t know whether he’s pro-rail or against rail. I’ve never asked him. I think he probably is pro-rail but I think he would want the best system.”

City Council member Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo nominated Ivan Lui-Kwan, who was the city’s budget director under former Mayor Jeremy Harris.

“He is — and has been for a long time — very active within many different leadership positions,” Gabbard Tamayo told Civil Beat. “He is an attorney who is very well established. With his history as the BFS director for the city, he has a very keen eye on how the finances work and should work, so he will have the ability to analyze things very closely as a former budget director in a financial sense. That’s very crucial, to be able to have someone on the authority who will really be able to kind of pick through things very carefully.”

Stanley Chang and Romy Cachola both declined to share their nominees, saying they would wait until they were made public. City Council Chairman Nestor Garcia also declined to talk about nominees, and said the City Council was planning a joint press conference with the mayor.

Such a formal presentation suggests the City Council would only present the three picks Garcia and Harimoto are putting before the council, rather than all nine nominees.

The mayor’s office did not respond to requests for confirmation about his possible picks of Todd Apo and Don Horner to the authority. Apo confirmed he has been approached by city officials about the job, which he is interested in taking. Horner, who was just named to the state Board of Education, declined to comment.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit, or HART, will be made up of 10 board members — nine voting members and one non-voting member — as follows:

  • State Department of Transportation director
  • City Department of Transportation Services director
  • City Department of Planning and Permitting director (non-voting member)
  • Board member appointed by mayor
  • Board member appointed by mayor
  • Board member appointed by mayor
  • Board member appointed by City Council
  • Board member appointed by City Council
  • Board member appointed by City Council
  • A tenth board member will be appointed by the eight voting board members already in place

The agency will be launched with the start of the fiscal year on July 1.

Previous Editions of Inside Honolulu

April 4, 2011: Todd Apo and Don Horner surface as mayor’s possible picks for transit authority; Tom Berg nominates Panos Prevedouros for transit authority; State awaits results on more dengue cases; Losing rail bidders set for debriefs.

April 1, 2011: Gov. Neil Abercrombie taps former City Council candidate; GOP wants Nestor Garcia ethics investigation; Budget Chairman Ernie Martin schedules two special budget meetings.

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