Friday, January 30, 2015
Where has the $1.25B rail money gone? Time for an audit to find out
The rail project has been in the works for more than 10 years but city and HART officials still can't — or won't — say what the money has been spent on. Secrecy over tens of millions of dollars in payments to subcontractors is only one troubling aspect.—Civil Beat, 1/30/2015
by Larry Geller
We’re definitely getting our money’s worth (well, Pierre’s money’s worth) from Civil Beat. The intrepid reporters are going where public agencies have feared to tread—wading deep into the financials that power Honolulu’s fearfully expensive rail transit project.
What nobody knows, least of all taxpayers footing the bill, is precisely how much money has already been spent on the project since the first rail-related contract was awarded almost 10 years ago, or the details of what is being spent today.
No comprehensive accounting of rail related expenditures over the past decade appears to exist.
[Civil Beat, At Least $1.25B Has Been Spent on Rail So Far, But Where Has All the Money Gone?, 1/30/2015]
There’s a single word that echoes in my mind as I read the CB story: “unacceptable.”
There could be a solution, at least to gaining greater transparency from the project: put the legislative auditor on it.
A management and financial audit would take time, but until it is complete, the Legislature need not approve continuing the Oahu surcharge to the GET. In fact, the lege could let it be known that any financial favors would be contingent on the outcome of the audit.