Mayor responds RE Rail, Blaisdell projects
Without addressing it directly, the mayor implies that Speaker Saiki's letter regarding simultaneous execution of these projects was misleading to the public.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell issued the following statement after receiving Speaker Saiki’s letter:
Funding for the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Master Plan and construction of the rail project come from completely different sources. Any attempt to confuse the public regarding these separate funding sources does a disservice to our community.
The rail project is being funded by O‘ahu’s half-percent surcharge to the general excise tax, the $1.55 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement with the Federal Transit Administration, and a portion of the hotel room tax. On the other hand, the Blaisdell Master Plan will be funded by city-issued bonds and the possibility of public-private partnerships.
We don’t want the Blaisdell to become Hawai‘i’s next Aloha Stadium where taxpayer resources are going toward ever-increasing maintenance and upkeep costs. Just as important, Honolulu is competing with entertainment venues across the U.S. Continent and Asia, and top acts have already refused to book the Blaisdell because of the facility’s deteriorating condition.
As mayor I will continue to focus on improving O‘ahu’s infrastructure as our residents and visitors deserve nothing less.