Hawaii State News, 11 Jan 2019

Welcome to the afternoon update from “Hawaii News Digest.”  Views expressed in this Hawaii News summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.  Topics cited in this post come from the current issue of “Hawaii Business Magazine.”  Here are the details:

Accessed on 11 January 2019, 2115 UTC, Post 18248.



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Blistering audit blames political rush to construction for ballooning rail costs
The city neglected its responsibility to spend taxpayer money on the rail project “prudently,” working on an artificial timetable and a “fragile” financial plan to gin up public support for the work, and then failing to be transparent about ballooning costs and unforeseen problems, a new audit concludes. The auditor documented $354 million in change orders related to Honolulu’s rail project. Hawaii News Now. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.KHON2. KITV. Tribune Herald.
Audit of HART full text here.

School board to revote on superintendent’s contract publicly
The decision to revote in a public meeting was made to settle any questions about whether the board had violated an administrative rule prohibiting any action in executive session that constitutes a decision, order or appointment, chairwoman Catherine Payne said Thursday. Civil Beat.

Homeless coordinator touts progress as lawmakers criticize pace of work
Hawaii had the fourth-largest decrease in homelessness in the nation in 2018, state homelessness coordinator Scott Morishige says. Yet Hawaii still has the highest per capita rate of homelessness compared with any state, but unsheltered homeless has fallen by 19 percent and there’s been a 38 percent reduction in unaccompanied homeless youth, he said. But Reps. Joy San Buenaventura and Della Au Belatti said the state hasn’t moved fast enough to spend $30 million the Legislature allocated last year for ohana zones. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s tax revenue projection adjusted for slower growth
Officials have scaled back the state’s tax revenue projection as the economy grows slower than last year. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports the state Council on Revenues voted to reduce its projection of growth in state tax collections this year from 5 to 4.2 percent. The reduction means the state might have $55 million less to spend than expected. Hawaii News Now. Garden Island.

Lawmaker to reintroduce bill to ban plastic straws, Styrofoam containers
Hawaii tried to ban plastic straws and Styrofoam containers, but failed, last year. Senator Mike Gabbard, who introduced the 2018 bill, plans to reintroduce the idea when the Legislature convenes this session. KITV.

Military plans for space defense race
U.S. military officials like to say that space is increasingly congested and contested. That sky-high communications crossroads may be the next battlefield, and the United States and other nations are now acting with haste to protect their space-based assets. That priority was highlighted at a Chamber of Commerce Hawaii Military Affairs Council annual meeting Thursday at the state Capitol. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Air passenger traffic hit record 11.8 million in 2018
Hawaiian Airlines, the state’s largest carrier, reported its full-year passenger data Thursday. Passenger traffic last year rose 2.9 percent from 11,505,324 in 2017 as the airline took delivery of nine A321neo aircraft during 2018 to bring the size of its A321neo fleet to 11 aircraft. The A321neo is being used to help Hawaiian expand its West Coast market Star-Advertiser. 

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Until next time,

Russ Roberts