SINKHOLE!

Sinkhole!

Sinkhole in the RoadSo what’s up with this large sinkhole crater at the Diamond Head end of the Ala Moana Beach Park access road? The hole manifested itself as a shallow pothole on September 13. City & County of Honolulu officials closed the Diamond Head end of the access room late that afternoon to motorists. The road has been closed ever since. No one with a motorized vehicle can access this stretch of roadway. Entry and exit into Ala Moana Beach Park by motor vehicle can only be gained from the Ewa end of the access road.

The access road’s sidewalk is still accessible by bicyclists and pedestrians. Good for the walkers and runners who frequent one of Honolulu’s most popular parks.

As these photos show, the sinkhole started as a small depression. City engineers decided the depression was a larger problem. So they decided to dig in and today this is what we have. A large rectangular shaped hole in the middle of the road filled with stagnant water.

I’ve heard guesstimations that the city will take at least a month to get the hole filled and the roadway repaired. Hopefully the process can be accelerated. We’ll see. No one is holding their breath on when the city will fix the hole. Most government projects take longer than anticipated. Furthermore no one knows how much will it cost to fix the hole. We’ll see.

Until then, happy walking in through the Diamond Head end. Your vehicle is not welcomed.

UPDATE: As of 9:30 am this morning the water in the hole has been filled up with new gravel. It is quite possible the whole thing will be fixed by Monday if not earlier.

Sinkhole In the RoadThe less than humble beginning of the Ala Moana Beach Park access road sinkhole.

Sinkhole in the RoadAs of September 21 the sinkhole was huge and filled with stagnant water.

Sinkhole In the RoadThe first roadblock on the access road just outside the Waikiki Yacht Club. Perhaps the rich people who go there may push the city into completing the repairs sooner rather than later.

Sinkhole in the RoadThis detour sign is not for motorists as the roadway is blocked several yards away from this area.

Sinkhole in the RoadThe road is closed from the Diamond Head entry of the Magic Island parking lot to the Diamond Head entryway on Ala Moana Boulevard.

We’ll follow up with progress and more photos of the sinkhole. Hopefully it will be gone soon.

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Marco Polo Condo Fire Residents

Burned Out Marco Polo Condo

PRESS RELEASE

Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to Hawaii businesses and residents affected by the Marco Polo Fire that occurred July 14, 2017, U.S. Small Business Administration’s Administrator Linda McMahon announced on Wednesday. SBA acted under its own authority to declare a disaster in response to a request SBA received from Gov. David Ige on Sept. 8, 2017.

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in Honolulu County.

“SBA is strongly committed to providing Hawaii with the most effective and customer-focused response possible, and we will be there to provide access to federal disaster loans to help finance recovery for businesses and residents affected by the disaster,” said McMahon. “Getting our businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

“Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to homeowners and renters whose property was damaged or destroyed by this disaster,” said SBA’s Hawaii District Director Jane Sawyer. “Beginning Thursday, Sept. 14, SBA representatives will be on hand at the following Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each individual complete their application,” Sawyer continued. The center will be open on the days and times indicated below. No appointment is necessary.

HONOLULU COUNTY
Disaster Loan Outreach Center
A.O.A.O. Marco Polo Apartments
2333 Kapiolani Blvd.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826
Opens 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 14
Mondays – Fridays, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Closes 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The deadline to apply for property damage is Nov. 13, 2017. The deadline to apply for economic injury is June 11, 2018.

Legislature Votes on Rail Tax Extension & Increase – Hawaii Political Platter

Hawaii State Capitol

Saving rail is more important than saving the taxpayers.

This is the conclusion that I have come to at the close of this week’s “special session” in which legislators chose to extend the General Excise Tax surcharge to fund rail by another 3 years to 2030 and levy an increase to the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) charged statewide on all hotel and travel accommodations. The result of the tax increase and extension will be far reaching into peoples’ pocketbooks for years and decades to come.

Read my commentary at the Hawaii Political Platter Blog.

Source: Legislature Votes on Rail Tax Extension & Increase – Hawaii Political Platter

The Hard Reality Of Honolulu Rail Costs – Honolulu Civil Beat

On the eve of a special legislative session, University of Hawaii Professor of Engineering Panos Prevedouros calls for a forensic audit of the gigantic and expensive rail mistake before more damage is done by taking the train to its current, intended end at Ala Moana Center.

Read the article on Honolulu Civil Beat:

Only a forensic audit can explain how an all-inclusive $4 billion cost for completing 16 miles and 14 stations has ballooned to more than $10 billion for 20 miles and 21 stations.

Source: The Hard Reality Of Honolulu Rail Costs – Honolulu Civil Beat

Big Ugly EXPENSIVE RailRail construction, last year, near Pearlridge Center.

Editor’s Note: I have been an opponent of rail for more than 30 years.

Public Hearing on Rail Taxes Set at State Legislature

Hawaii taxpayers may have a last chance to stop the rail project by sending in testimony and hoping that the Hawaii State Legislature will do the sensible thing and not waste taxpayer money to call a special session to increase or extend taxes to pay for rail.

In an email sent out to subscribers, longtime rail opponent Dennis Callan urges the public to send in testimony for a legislative hearing coming up this Monday, August 14:

“Extension of the rail tax is going to be considered on Monday morning at an “informational briefing” at the capitol auditorium.  The legislature has scheduled the Special Session public hearing on increasing the rail tax and I urge you to participate.

Email them your testimony now, and come to the hearing if you can:

NOTICE OF LEGISLATURE INFORMATIONAL BRIEFING
DATE: Monday, August 14, 2017
TIME:  10:00 a.m.
PLACE:  Auditorium, State Capitol

Public testimony will be accepted but it must be emailed first:
“Testimony must be submitted via email to the Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy at: TRETestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov

Take one minute right now to compose a quick message and email it in.  This will put you on the list of testifiers and you can then expand on your thoughts while speaking.

This might be our very last chance to make our voices heard. Please participate!!

It is going to be an extraordinary combined hearing in front of all five subject committees, so this is your chance to reach 50 decision-makers.

Yes, they have been ignoring us for ten years, yes, they have probably already made up their minds to push this rail disaster through to the very end, but we have a responsibility to do everything possible to stop it.  If the public were to participate in large numbers, this train wreck could be stopped, perhaps by ending it at Middle Street, which would save billions and prevent the city center from being damaged by the useless elevated monstrosity.

Say whatever you like in your testimony, express your feelings as you see fit, but do something!

It is going to be a big event with a packed house and members of five committees, so you might want to get there early…but first, right now, email them a brief statement  TRETestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov

Senate
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND ENERGY
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY, INTERGOVERNMENTAL, AND MILITARY AFFAIRS
COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS

House:
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION
COMMITTEE ON FINANCE

Here is the hearing notice:
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/hearingnotices/HEARING_TRE-PSM-WAM-TRN-FIN_08-14-17_INFO_.HTM  “

Photo credit: The first trainset for the w:en:Honolulu Rail Transit project on display at the HART vehicle maintenance facility in Pearl City, Hawaii. By Musashi 1600.