Deficit for rail project caused by miscommunication

It was big news back in December.

The $5.

3 billion rail project could go as much as $700 million over budget.

Like he has in the past, Mayor Kirk Caldwell maintained federal funds meant for the bus would not be used to help make up the deficit.

KIRK CALDWELL: "I'M PUTTING IT ON THE LINE, AS MAYOR AS LONG AS I'M MAYOR, THAT 5307 MONEY WILL NOT BE USED FOR RAIL.

IT'S GOING TO BE USED FOR BUS.

" At the same news conference HART Executive Director Dan Grabauskas talked about that same lump some.

called 5307 funds.

KIRK CALDWEL & DAN GRABAUSKAS: "I'M NOT GOING TO JEOPARDIZE THAT RIDERSHIP.

BUT DAN, YOU MAY WANT TO ADD SOMETHING TO THAT? I WILL JUST ECHO AND SAY THAT YOU HEARD THE SAME THINGS FROM OUR HART BOARD, NOBODY WANTS TO TOUCH THE 5307 MONEY.

I KNOW THE CITY COUNCIL AND THE MAYOR HAVE MADE THAT VERY CLEAR, AND LET ME JUST SAY THAT OUR HART BOARD HAS ALSO MADE IT VERY CLEAR TO ME.

SO, OUR TASK AHEAD OF US, BECAUSE G-E-T DIDN'T COME IN HIGHER AND COSTS DIDN'T COME IN LOWER, IS TO TRY TO FIND SOME SUBSTITUTE FOR THAT MONEY.

" Now December's big story is bigger.

$210 million dollars bigger Because touch that money or not.

HART DID factor it into the budget.

Without it.

the projected deficit could hit $910 million! IKAIKA ANDERSON: "UP TO THIS POINT HART HAS TOLD THE COUNCIL THAT WE ARE $700 MILLION SHORT IN FUNDING FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE RAIL PROJECT.

" We spoke to the mayor who's in Washington, D.

C.

MAYOR KIRK CALDWELL: "I THINK MAYBE IT COULD'VE BEEN MADE MORE CLEARLY BY HART WHEN THEY TALKED ABOUT IT, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY NOTHING WAS HIDDEN.

" Grabauskas says he WAS upfront last month when the projected deficit was announced.

DAN GRABAUSKAS: "I CALLED IT OUT CLEARLY, BUT IT WOULD'VE BEEN DISINGENUOUS OF ME TO CALL THAT A DEFICIT BEFORE MAKING A PRESUMPTION OF WHAT THE CITY COUNCIL OR THE MAYOR OR THE FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION WAS GOING TO SAY.

" Now that it's clear the cost overrun for rail could approach $1 billion, the mayor's in DC trying to secure federal highway funds.

If the feds and state DOT go along with the plan, it could be worth as much as $100 million.

MAYOR KIRK CALDWELL: "NO ONE HAS SHUT THE DOOR ON THE REQUEST, THEY'RE ALL SAYING THEY'RE OPEN AND WILLING TO LOOK AT IT.

" Caldwell admits what he really wants is an extension of the half percent rail surcharge, or keeping the tax in place permanently.

The mayor is scheduled to make his pitch to state lawmakers Monday at the state Capitol auditorium, but already an online petition has been created to say "No permanent G.

E.

Tax" for Honolulu rail.

" MAYOR KIRK CALDWELL: "YES, WE NEED TO SEE THOSE WHO ARE OPPOSED, HEAR THEIR ARGUMENTS AND ADDRESS THEIR ARGUMENTS.

" KITV4 has heard that rail surcharge protestors plan to be at that meeting Monday at the state Capitol auditorium.

Source: Youtube

Rail project must meet certain criteria by 2022 for full federal funding

rail project HAS to meet certain specifications or Uncle Sam may ask for his money back.

That's part of the deal the city struck to get the 1-point-55 BILLION dollars from the feds.

KITV4's Andrew Pereira joins us with the story, all new at 6.

Andrew? Yunji, Paula, the city has very little wiggle room when it comes to the number of rail stations it must build and how long the elevated rail line must travel.

Those signatures are binding.

When the city and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation signed a Full Funding Grant Agreement in December 2012, it meant the federal government would provide $1.

55 billion for elevated rail.

But it also meant the city is obligated to build a system agreed upon by the Feds.

Former anti-rail mayoral candidate and UH civil engineer Panos Prevedouros is familiar with such contracts.

PANOS PREVEDOUROS: "SO, FOR EXAMPLE A SYSTEM KAPOLEI TO PEARL CITY IS NOT GOING TO CUT IT.

IT'S A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME AND BECAUSE NOBODY IS REALLY COMMUTING THAT DISTANCE.

" Under the agreement HART must build an elevated rail line that's 20-miles long, features 21 stations and has 80 rail cars.

Any effort to decrease the number of stations, length of the rail line or number of rail cars to save money could result in the FTA asking for the return of $1.

55 billion or some portion of the federal grant.

HART must also begin accepting passengers by the revenue service date of Jan.

31, 2020 or risk the same possible penalty.

PANOS PREVEDOUROS: "THERE IS A NUMBER OF THINGS THAT THEY CAN DO AND AT SOME POINT THEY MIGHT SAY THE DEAL IS COMPLETELY OFF, YOU CAN GO AHEAD AND DO THE SYSTEM THAT YOU WISH TO DO, BUT FEDERAL FUNDING IS OFF THE TABLE.

" To be clear, the transit authority has not proposed scaling back the number of stations or the length of the route, and says the rail line will open on time.

However the rail project is facing a cost overrun as much as $910 million,now that the city is insisting 210-million dollars in bus funds remain off limits.

Today Council Chairman Ernie Martin introduced a resolution that would do just that.

"Now is the time to reassure the public that continued construction of the rail project will not jeopardize the existing level of bus and Handi- Van service," Martin said in a statement to KITV4.

If the Council approves the resolution, the FTA will insist the $210 million in bus funds be replaced.

PANOS PREVEDOUROS: "THEY DON'T CARE HOW, IT'S A CITY PROJECT, FIND A WAY.

" Mayor Kirk Caldwell has always said "no" to federal bus funds being used for rail and on Monday asked state lawmakers to lift the sunset date on the half percent rail tax.

The mayor said the booming construction market is largely to blame.

MAYOR KIRK CALDWELL: "WE WERE PUSHED FROM A VERY SOFT NO CONSTRUCTION MARKET, INTO AN EXTREMELY HOT, RED HOT CONSTRUCTION MARKET.

" If Caldwell's argument sounds familiar, it is.

It's nearly identical to the argument used by former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in 2006 when the cost of the proposed rail line jumped from $3 billion to $3.

6 billion.

MUFI HANNEMANN: "IT'S JUST THE FACT THAT THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS, THE ENGINEERING, THE CONSTRUCTION WORK AND ALL OF THAT THAT HAS TO OCCUR.

" HART issued a statement to KITV4, saying: "We will continue to work closely with our partners at the Federal Transit Administration.

on completion of the Honolulu rail project as outlined in the Full.

Source: Youtube

Rail problems could bring project to a halt

the City Council doesn't come to the rescue, construction could come to a screeching halt.

KITV4's Andrew Pereira has an update on the controversial project.

Andrew? PAULA , the rail project has $322 million dollars of cash on hand, but that money will run out sometime between June through September.

Another construction delay could loom for Honolulu's rail project if the City Council doesn't allow HART to issue $350 million in bonds for the second half of this year.

DAN GRABAUSKAS: "THE $350 MILLION DOLLARS THAT IS SCHEDULED TO BE BARROWED TO KEEP OUR CASH NEEDS FOR THE COMING YEAR, KEEPS THE EXISTING CONSTRUCTION GOING.

" The head of the transit authority reminded council members that short-term debt was always a part of the rail project's financial plan.

Under the plan HART needs to issue as much as $1.

9 billion in bonds and commercial paper over the next several years to keep cash flowing.

However even the city's new managing director, Roy Amemiya, admitted the administration doesn't know what the final cost of the project will be.

ROY AMEMIYA: "A LOT OF IT IS PROJECTIONS, WHAT WILL THE CONTRACTS COME OUT AT? Right now the cost overrun for rail is estimated at more than $900 million.

But that's with 40 percent of contracts still not issued.

A December report by a federal oversight committee criticizes HART for not doing enough to cut costs, saying quote, ".

Minimal cost containment measures have been accomplished by HART.

" And "This unfavorable trend of minimal cost containment is alarming.

" It's a sentiment echoed by council members.

CAROL FUKUNAGA: "IN LOOKING AT THE FEDERAL MONITORING REPORT ONE CONCERN I WOULD HAVE IS THAT WE REALLY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE ACTUAL COSTS ARE THAT HAVE NOT YET BEEN DEVELOPED.

" With the final price tag of the rail project unknown, council members are worried, since any debt is backed by city taxpayers.

ANN KOBAYASHI: "YOU KNOW OUR BOTTOM LINE IS THE TAXPAYER, THAT'S WHO WE REALLY ARE WORRIED, AND TO HAVE THEM CO-SIGN A LOAN IS.

I MEAN WHO WOULD GIVE A LOAN TO SOMEONE WHO HAS SUCH A HUGE SHORTFALL IN THEIR PROJECT?" If the council does not approve the issuance of bonds, construction on the first 10 miles of the rail project could stop or slow down as soon as June.

Meanwhile, contracts expected to be issued in the first quarter of 2016 could also be threatened.

Source: Youtube

Rail project faces more financial scrutiny

our KITV4 mobile app.

It was a clean sweep today as the Honolulu City Council voted to remove federal bus funds from the rail project's budget.

Now what? As KITV4's Andrew Pereira shows us.

there's now a more than $200-million dollar hole to fill and the project is already facing intense financial scrutiny.

The resolution adopted Wednesday by the City Council makes it clear that $210 million in federal bus funds cannot be used to build rail.

But that won't matter much to the Federal Transit Administration if a replacement for the bus money is not found.

MAYOR KIRK CALDWELL: "AND THAT'S WHY ANDREW AT THE END OF THE DAY IT'S SO CRITICAL THAT WE GET THIS EXTENSION OF THE G-E-T THAT WOULD GO ON AFTER 2022.

" The council also approved a resolution to send four of its members to DC to meet with the Federal Transit Administration.

One of the questions to be asked: Is it too late for Honolulu to change technology for its mass transit system? IKAIKA ANDERSON: "IN ALL OF THE DISCUSSIONS WITH FTA OFFICIALS IN DC THAT I'VE HAD, AND I'VE HAD MANY, I HAVE EVERY REASON TO BELIEVE FROM WHAT I'VE HEARD THUS FAR THAT NO WE CANNOT CHANGE TECHNOLOGIES.

" Council Chairman Ernie Martin is among four members headed to the Beltway this weekend to meet with the FTA.

ERNIE MARTIN: "AT THIS PARTICULAR JUNCTURE, ALTHOUGH WE'LL ASK THE QUESTION AGAIN, I DON'T THING WE'RE GOING TO HEAR ANYTHING DIFFERENT THEN WE'VE HEARD IN THE PAST THAT AT THIS STAGE OF THE PROJECT WE CANNOT CHANGE THE TECHNOLOGY.

" Mayor Kirk Caldwell has heard the same thing, which means using something else other than steel wheels on steel rail would force a do-over.

MAYOR KIRK CALDWELL: "WE'D HAVE TO DO A NEW EIS; WE'D HAVE TO DO A DRAFT, WE'D HAVE TO DO A FINAL.

WE'D HAVE TO GET THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO AGREE.

THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS WE'D HAVE TO DO, IT WOULD DELAY THE PROJECT AND DRIVE UP COSTS.

" With the rail project already projected at more than $900 million over budget, council members will ask if any aspects of the system can be changed.

ERNIE MARTIN: "WE NEED TO DISCUSS WITH THE FTA WHAT EXACTLY IS AVAILABLE TO THE COUNTY AS AN OPTION.

PERHAPS DEFERRING SOME OF THE STATIONS; I THINK EVERYTHING HAS TO BE PUT ON THE TABLE.

" Andrew Pereira KITV4 News.

Source: Youtube

Trends and Talkers: Ending the rail project?

Getting rid of rail before it's even finished.

That debate has hundreds of you weighing in tonight.

There's been a lot of frustration with this massive project.

The state Legislature is currently considering a bill to increase the rail tax another 25 years beyond its scheduled sunset at the end of 2022.

If the measure is approved, it would help the city deal with a current cost overrun of $910 million.

Some people have suggested scrapping the project and taking down what's been put up.

But that would cost an estimated $3.

2 billion, or about half what the rail project is now projected to cost.

On facebook Brian Takara writes, "$3.

2 Billion loss is way better than spending 8+ Billion dollars for something that is obsolete, will NOT meet predicted ridership, displace more businesses, AND perhaps stop taxing us for something that many don't want.

It's called cutting our losses.

" Vanessa Shea counters, "Are you kidding me??????? And MANY DO WANT!!!! This is a vital necessity to the entire Waianae coast, not to mention those living between Pearl City and Kapolei.

Wake up to the 21st century.

You cannot stop the increasing numbers of cars on the already overburdened roads without mass transit.

And the bus will never suffice.

" And Mel Cadiente adds, "It just surprises me that they can come up with an exact figure to tear it down but they can't tell us exactly how much it will cost in the end to build it!" We want to know what you think of this story.

Head to facebook and weigh in.

Source: Youtube

Melbourne Metro Rail Project – Start of Geotechnical Investigations

Thanks very much for being here today on whatis such a significant occasion to mark the beginning of geotechnical works for the Melbourne Metro Rail Project.

This is the first step towards a train systemwhere you don't need a timetable you simply turn up and go.

A world class public transport system for the world's most liveable city.

I want to make it clear to you that in nextTuesday's budget $1.

5 billion will be invested in all the work that needs to be done to getus to the major construction phase.

The architectural work, the engineering, design, moving services so water, gas, power.

The money to move the Swanson Street tramroute and to realign that very busy tram route.

And of course geotechnical work on a scalethat we've not seen before 140 different sites just like this one, drilling down toa depth of some 50 metres getting a soil sample so that all of the geotechnical considerations can be made so we get the best design and the very best outcome.

The drilling starts today because this Government is providing $1.

5 billion to make the Melbourne Metro Rail Project, such an important project for our city and our State, the important reality that we promised it would be.

This is nine kilometres of track, five brand new stations, 20,000 extra passengers being able to be moved each peak, a train system where you don't need a timetable.

It will transform our public transport system.

That's our vision, that's our plan, and work starts today.

What does this $1 1/2 billion budget commitmentmean for this project? It means that in addition to the vital geotechnicalwork that needs to be undertaken getting the samples done along the alignment, makingsure that we understand the services that are underground that need to be moved the undertaking of the early tram works and the tram realignments.

It also provides the funding necessary toget the Expression of Interest out to market in 2016.

We have the Request for Tender documents prepared, and to see that major construction work start in 2018.

This is a significant commitment, a significantdemonstration of our passion for this project, and I'm just thrilled to be with the Premiertoday to announce yet another major milestone for the Great Melbourne Metro Project.

Source: Youtube

Law Enforcement Reform / M-1 Rail Project | American Black Journal Full Episode

  [music] Just ahead on AmericanBlack Journal, the recent rioting in Baltimore againplaces the spotlight on interactions betweenblacks and police.

Today, we'll talk aboutboth sides of the issue; law enforcement reformand how citizens should respond whenconfronted by police.

Plus, we'll get an updateon the progress of the M-1 RAIL project in Detroit.

Stay with us, AmericanBlack Journal is next.

   At DTE Energy, webelieve that we have  a greater responsibility.

 We believe that being partof a community means being  involved in thefabric of that community.

 Investing time, effort,and resources in the  communities we serve.

 DTE Energy Foundation is aproud sponsor of  American Black Journal.

[music]   Welcome toAmerican Black Journal.

I'm Stephen Henderson.

The city of Baltimoreis trying to get back to normal following theviolence, looting, and arson that broke out afterthe funeral for Freddie Gray.

He's the 25-year-old blackman who died of a spinal cord injury whilein police custody.

Gray is the latest blackman to die at the hands of police, promptingprotests and calls for law enforcement reform.

My guest today can relateto the issue from several perspectives.

He's the former mayor ofPontiac who also served as a police officer inthat city for 17 years.

Plus, he's a formerinvestigative reporter for the Oakland Press and hewrote a book called, "The Todd Road Incident".

It's about the shooting ofan unarmed, black Oakland University student by awhite police officer in Alabama duringthe early 1980s.

I'm pleased to welcomeDr.

Willie Payne to American Black Journal.

Thanks for being here.

Thanks for the invite.

So, give me a sense of howyou saw what went on in Baltimore this week.

What does that say to youabout what's going on in terms of the relationshipbetween police and black communities? What happened in Baltimoreis commonplace in what is happening in majorcities across the country.

Sure.

And certainly there needsto be a need to address it in a more uniformal way.

There needs to be,certainly, police reform across the board.

But, I feel that thoseinvolved, the young men who have been shot bypolice, many of them need to know or should haveknown how to properly respond to police.

And there's a problemacross this country with individuals not knowinghow to properly respond when confrontedby the police.

You and I both know,probably, that the right response could result ineither getting a ticket, getting a verbal warning,being hauled into jail, being drawn into aconfrontation that could cost your life.

So, what I have proposedto do is to try and teach young men how toproperly respond.

Ok, so let's start.

You had two points there.

One about law enforcementreform, the other about how to respond ifyou're pulled over.

Let's start with thelaw enforcement reform.

From your perspective,what are the things that need to change in terms ofthe way officers, maybe, are trained in terms ofhow they're sent out and told what theyoughta be doing.

As it relates to training,I think there needs to be more sensitivitytraining courses.

Courses in ethnicitybecause when you are a police officer, you dealwith a variety of people with differentethnic backgrounds.

Sure.

For example, when I workedin the city of Pontiac, we had a largeHispanic community.

And, oftentimes, in thesummer, the Puerto Ricans and the Latinswould party outside.

They'd play their musicloud and they'd drink in public as ifthey were at home.

At home, it was ok.

But, in the city ofPontiac, it was against the law.

So, as a police officer,you respond to the scene, you think that thesefolk know that they're violating the lawand they do not.

Now, if I had, if–whenI say I, that police officer, if I had sometraining on the culture of that community, then Iwould know that these folk are simply engagingin activities that are commonplace to where theylive and I would not be offended by it.

But, of course, officersare offended by it.

And, on the same term,the folk, the Hispanic communities, they areoffended by the fact that officers–By theresponse they get.

Yes, because they think,you're just messing with me for no reason.

So, there needs to betraining from both sides.

And that trainingcosts money, of course.

Is that training thatshould happen when people are in the Police Academyor is that something that should go onthroughout your career? I think itshould be ongoing.

Yeah.

It should certainly happenin the Police Academy and should be ongoing.

Probably quarterly becauseyou have to understand, you're dealing with avariety of people, people with differentbackgrounds, different beliefs.

And different kinds ofcultural expectations about how their behaviorwill be responded to.

And, I think, when youhave police departments and police chiefs andmayors who will engage their officers in thosetypes of training, you have a more wellrounded police department.

Right.

Ok, so then thesecond part of your recommendation is changingthe way that we talk to young men, especiallyyoung African-American men, about encounterswith the police.

Talk to me about thethings that you're telling young men that you have.

What I'm telling youngmen, I have a–I call it my nine plus one plus oneways to address police.

Or what not to, or whatto do when confronted by police and the numberone thing is to cooperate.

Cooperate with police.

When you look atthose incidences that are happening across America,as it relates to law enforcement andthe African-American community, of course,when young black men are approached by police,there's a high level of resentment there.

First of all, they thinkyou're just messing with me because I'm black.

So, their response isgoing to be very negative.

So, what I'm trying toshow young men is that how you respond to policedictates whether you get a traffic ticket, whetheryou get a verbal warning, whether you getthrown into jail.

Right.

It all dependson your attitude.

So, we'resaying, just comply.

If the police are askingyou to do certain things, just do those things.

And one of the questions Ipose to the young people that I talk to, I ask themthe question, if Michael Brown would have simplygotten out of the street when police asked MichaelBrown, cause it relates to the Ferguson incident.

If Michael Brown wouldhave simply gotten out of the street, wouldMichael Brown still be alive today? Perhaps.

And the answers were.

What did they say whenyou ask them that? They were mixed.

Yeah.

Yeah.

Some young folks– Well, I mean, I thinksome people could hear what you'resaying and say, well, this is blaming the victim, Imean and a lot of times, these young menaren't doing anything.

Understand I am notcondoning the actions of police.

Sure.

When police take the livesof innocent people, they should be punished.

They should be prosecuted.

Right.

But, also, I have toexplain to the young folk that prosecution of policeare very rare because you must understand thatpolice and the prosecutors are all part of the samesystem and many of them belong to the samecountry club or go to church together.

And you're not going tohave a large degree of prosecutions when itcomes to– And, so, what you'resaying is, you can be frustrated with the system andyou can be frustrated with the thingsthat are going on, but when itcomes to that one-to-one interaction with apolice officer– Push those frustrationsaside and comply.

Sort of put that–andthat could be very difficult to do.

I know.

I know.

But, it could, it takesa lot of, lot of, lot of resentment, but whenyou look at the overall picture in its totality,if it's going to save a life, then what we have todo is do what is necessary to save a life.

Right.

Right.

Yeah.

Preserving a life.

And that'swhat's at stake here.

That's what's at stake.

That if you push back, ifyou, you know, we saw in Inkster recently, FloydDent, he opened the car door and it seemed like hewas going to get out and the officer seemed torespond to that, he seemed to think of that as anact of aggression which it probably wasn't, butperhaps if he hadn't opened the door, theymight have responded differently, but there,again, I mean, I think a lot of people might seethat as you saying, well, you know, these officersare somehow justified for what they're doing.

Well, I hope thatthey don't come to that conclusion because, again,I am not condoning use of force.

What you're saying is youneed both sides to behave differently.

We need bothsides to behave, yes.

Yeah.

And I think the endresult would be, you know, appealing to both sides.

I too was a victim ofpolice brutality, even as mayor.

You were? Ok.

Even as mayor.

Uh-huh.

Tell me about that.

I was on a road tripdriving from Scottsdale, Arizona to Las Vegas.

I'd never been there, so Idecided to rent a car and go to Las Vegas.

About a mile fromthe Hoover Dam, I was approached, stopped, byseveral police–I knew it was a felony stopfrom the onset.

Yeah.

About five carsdescended on me.

Stopped my car, officersarmed with guns forced me out of the car, handcuffedme, put me on the ground.

Did they tell you anythingabout why they were–? I asked why Iwas being stopped.

I was told to shut up.

And I complied because Iwas there by myself and, you know, I've readstories and cases where you had police shootingsand those shootings were justified.

Right.

And, later on, in thestory you find out that the person haddone nothing wrong.

In this case, I haddone nothing wrong.

Right.

Right.

And I asked, at the pointwhere they allowed me to talk, I did ask questionsas to why I was being stopped.

Uh-huh.

And you were the mayorof Pontiac at this point? Yes, it didn'tmake any sense.

Right.

Got no apology.

But, of course, I leftwith everything still intact because Isimply complied.

And were you able tofollow-up with the department later and getsome sort of response? I made calls to the chiefof police there and other authorities there withthat police department, names I won't mention.

Sure.

But, I was not satisfiedwith the answers I got.

Yeah.

Well, actually, on thescene, I was told the reason I was stoppedbecause I was speeding.

And I had been–they hadbeen following me– That's not the rightresponse for speedingthough, is it? They had beenchasing me for five miles.

Yeah.

Five miles.

Yeah.

Now, being the observantperson that I am having worked as a police officertrained observer– That's a long way.

[laughs] It was hard forme to to accept.

But, I mean, I think thelesson of your story is comply up front, deal withthe consequences later.

Live to be able to say,what you did was wrong and we're going todeal with that.

Absolutely.

If you respond differentlyin the moment, you might not get that chance.

And the leaflet that Igive to those persons I talk to during my townhall style meetings, there's a list of agenciesthat they can call if they feel their rights havebeen violated or they have been treated– That that'sthe right way to deal with these things.

Yeah, so comply,complain later.

Yes.

Don't fight in the streetsbecause you'll lose.

Right.

You do yourfighting in court.

Ok.

Thank you verymuch for being here.

This is a really great,informative conversation.

Thank you for having me.

Yes.

Yes.

Just ahead on AmericanBlack Journal, spring is construction season andone of Detroit's largest projects haskicked into high gear.

We'll have the latest onthe M-1 RAIL project next right after this look atsome important moments in Detroit's black history.

  I'm Kim Trent with a lookback at African-American life in Detroit.

This week, in 1955,Doctor Remus Robinson was elected to the DetroitBoard of Education.

He was the first blackto serve in that post.

In 1956, Gotham HotelAppreciation Week kicked off at the black-ownedestablishment located on John R Street, justnorth of Mack Avenue.

And in 1979, EddieJefferson, one of the most unique vocalists inthe history of jazz was fatally shot aftercompleting a set at Baker's Keyboard Lounge.

These are significantevents this week in Detroit's black historytaken from the book: "On This Day: African-AmericanLife in Detroit".

  Detroit's M-1 RAIL projecthas kicked off a rather aggressive constructionschedule for 2015.

The modern streetcar willbegin operating late next year along WoodwardAvenue, between Larned and West Grand Boulevard.

This year's constructionplans include laying track in the midtownneighborhood, installing a specialty curved track toget around Campus Martius, and completion of thePenske Tech Center.

Throughout theconstruction, project organizers are vowing tomaintain a clean and safe environment for bothmotorists and pedestrians.

Joining me now from theM-1 RAIL project are Paul Childs, who's the ChiefOperating Officer and Sommer Woods, who'sthe Director of External Relations.

Welcome toAmerican Black Journal.

Thank you.

So, this is a topic thatis near and dear to my heart.

I live downtown, I workdowntown, and I walk back and forth betweenthose places all the time.

So, I see the constructionand I have to, sort of, jump around some of it.

But, you're right, asI said in the open, it really has, sort of,kicked into high gear.

There are tracks nowthat go up almost past the stadium and it's startingto look like a railroad.

[laughs] We did kick this intohigh gear this year.

Yeah.

We've got a lot ofactivity during 2015.

We're actually furtheron than what you would imagine, right? Is that right? We've got some track laidup in midtown already and we're basically throughthe Campus Martius, or, I'm sorry, the GrandCircus Park area.

We're working very hard infront of the Foxtown area.

But, not only are welaying track but, part of the project is with ourpartners, MDOT and, so, there's a complete rebuildof the road, but both of the bridges, I-94and I-75 are also under construction.

And we had a momentousevent last week where we did the deck pour on I-94on the west side of I-94.

So, once that pour's setup and a few other things are taken care of, we'llend up working on the other side of the bridgewhich means if you were used to turning one way,we're going to have you turn the other way.

Go on the other side? As you navigate up anddown our obstacle course.

Right.

So, correct me if I'mwrong, but my original memory is that this wasnot supposed to open until 2017, right? So, now, we're gonna be upand running by the end of '16.

We're going to work ashard as we can to get to that point.

The project is comprisedof four different pieces.

So, what you're seeingright now is what we call Package A, right? And Package B.

So, Package A is the mainline construction along with all the roadwork.

Right.

And Package B is thePenske Tech Center.

Yeah, tell me about–I'mnot sure if I'm totally familiar withwhat that is.

So, what that is, in oldparlance, right, from the streetcar days, it'sthe car barn, right? Ok.

And it'll also be–Where the cars go home.

That's where they gohome at night and it's operational headquarters.

Ok.

And that's just onthe other side of the boulevard on the eastside of the street there between Custerand Bethune.

And we've got a fairamount of activity going on up there, also.

Ok.

And, Sommer, this is adisruptive project in the sense that it'staken over the street.

But, I hear from shopowners and other providers on Woodward that youguys have been pretty good about trying tomake sure they're not too disruptive.

Yes, we work very hard.

Nicole Brown, who's on ourteam who does an awesome job and Domeda.

They actually are onthe streets everyday.

Talking to vendors,talking to all of our business owners, trying tounderstand accessibility.

What are their concerns,what are their issues, and making sure that we cangive them the tools that they need to communicateto their customers, as well.

So, for us, it's importantthat they are happy as much as possible becausethe goal of this project is to create economicdevelopment and for people to sponsor it.

To be a part of theseparticular activities that are taking place downtown.

Yeah.

When will we start to seeconstruction of the rail stops, the stations? So, you're actually seeingpart of that going on right now.

So, the first piece thatwill go in is the civil piece, or thebases, right.

So, that's being doneas part of the roadwork.

Uh-huh.

And then during '17, orI'm sorry, during '16, you'll see what we call avertical elements going in.

So, you'll actually seethe stations starting to pop up.

You'll see the newstreetlights going in, you'll see the newoverhead catenary poles being installed.

All that is for next year.

Right.

You know, the criticism Ihear of M-1, and I don't hear a ton, but, I do hearpeople saying, why are we concentrating on 3.

5 milesof track that really does not connect, you know,downtown to any of the neighborhoods or to thesuburbs when we should be looking at maybe bus rapidtransit as the idea for RTA.

What's the answer to that? Why is this an importantproject and why is it worth as much moneyas being spent on it? Well, it's importantbecause it's very catalytic for just,overall, bigger picture of transportation.

Right.

So, bus rapid transit,obviously there's still research that'staking place for that.

It can stillhappen, as well.

I think the thing that wehave to learn to do here is to think of multimodes of transportation.

[laughs] Right.

It's not either/or.

It's not either/or.

We can all co-exist.

And the other thing that'simportant with this is that it does connectmultiple communities.

I mean, it is downtown,midtown, new center, north end, those arecommunities.

And, so, that's what'simportant is to understand that, you know, with ourproject, it also becomes a $60 million match by thefederal government that if it's a project thatconnects to our system, they can get $60 million.

If that's BRT, if that'san extension of the line, whatever the case may be.

But, also, we havea stop at Amtrak.

So, when you have allthese conversations– So, you're connecting -absolutely.

Ann Arbor people that workin Ann Arbor and live in the city, and vice versa,so, it is about multi modes of transportationand getting us to think a little bit differentlyversus just getting in our cars let's rideour bicycles.

This is what wedo every day.

Every day.

Absolutely.

Absolutely.

Right.

Well, what aboutthe people mover? Will there be a stop thatconnects the M-1 to the people mover? Or multiple, I guess it'llcross it twice at Grand Circus Park anddown at Larned.

So, Grand Circus Parkis probably the closest location, right, and,obviously, that stop, for the people mover hasbeen under construction.

That's closed, anyway.

Sure.

But, that's to beopened shortly.

Ok.

It'll be open inadvance of our opening.

Right.

So, it'll workout perfectly.

Right.

But, the other thing weall have to remember, as Sommer pointed out, wehave to think about modes of transportation.

And part of thatis walking, right? We don't do alot of that here.

Or we don't like to.

There's no city you cango to that has public transportation that saysyou don't have to walk a couple of blocks to beable to catch it, so.

Right.

Right.

What about thepossibility–so, let's say we get, you know, we getto this point and it's open and you can rideup and down to Grand Boulevard, what's thepossibility to take it further out Woodward andwhat's the possibility to, maybe, make it, you know,go on to other streets, Gratiot, Michigan Avenue,the sort of spur streets that we have in the city? So, let's talk aboutthat just a little bit.

So, the first piece is isto understand, all right, that we have a regionaltransit authority now and they have a role, right? They're supposed to beplanning transit for everybody.

Absolutely.

And we interact very, youknow, on a regular basis.

I was with 'em yesterdayfor a couple of hours.

So, our team is integralin terms of working on that planning.

But, that is MichaelFord's role and the RTA's role, all right, andrepresented by the four counties for them tocome up with a plan.

And, obviously, there's areferendum that should be on a ballot proposal latenext year in order to help fund that.

Uh-huh.

But, the corridors thatyou named, the Michigan Avenue, the Gratiot,Woodward, there are what we call alternativeanalysis going on right now.

Ok.

Right? To understand the mode.

And, as we said before,there's more than one way to travel.

So, it may be you dosomething there and maybe it's not a train.

Maybe it's the bus.

And maybe it's thebus rapid transit.

Right.

And there's more than oneway to move people around, so.

Yeah.

Yeah.

What–how willpeople ride this car? I imagine that this is notgoing to be like the old trolleys that we had orthe streetcars before those trolleys.

What will be the way thatpeople pay for the light rail? What will theynotice about how this is different from anythingwe've ever had before? It's funny that you–Iactually just came back from Atlanta.

Ok.

They have the Atlantastreetcar there and one of the reasons why I reallywanted to go there was to understand the farepayment process and, what that process is.

You look at a lot ofstreetcars across the country in order to makesure that they maintain headways, they havea trust but verify.

Ok.

So, you have a fareinspector who's on the streetcar that checks tomake sure that you paid your fare.

That you paid.

[laughs] Correct.

But, also, to Paul's pointabout the RTA, the other conversations thatare taking place is the connectivity withthe other modes.

So, conversation withSmart, with DDOT, until there is the fulltransition with the RTA.

You have a card thatyou can– Can I transfer from– Absolutely.

Absolutely.

Which, obviously, that'sbeen a conversation that's been taking place intransit for 100 years here.

It's sort of anargument, really.

It is.

It is.

And, so, our goal isto be a part of that conversation and make surethat connectivity is key because, again, wewant those that are transit-dependent to beable to use it and those that are, you know, livein the area, visiting in the area, it is truly amode for everyone that is going to be in the area.

And the cars themselvesare very modern, you know, they're very sortof forward looking.

This is gonna be a sortof a cool thing to have in the city, right? And there's a coupleof cool things to think about.

First of all, the lasttime there was a streetcar in a street inDetroit was 1956.

  And, so, many of thepeople that are probably watching this programdon't remember that, right? So that's a bigstep forward.

But, the other thingthat'll be different here in Detroit is theoff-wire technology.

So, we will actually beable to navigate well past 50% of our entire runup and down the corridor off-wire.

Battery powered.

Oh, really? All right? And that's gonna be aunique thing that's starting to takeroot in the industry.

But, by far, we will havepushed it the furthest.

So, Detroit will beback again as a leader.

Out front in terms oftaking this technology and pushing it asfar as we can, so.

Right.

Right.

And the cars, how theyinteract with traffic, I think a lot of people areconcerned about, you know, will traffic be ableto move around them? Will they get right ofway on traffic lights? How's all thatsupposed to work? So, it does go withthe flow of traffic.

We go with theposted speed limit.

So, we are stationary.

Right.

So, there's an educationalcomponent that has– So it'll stop at redlights and– Absolutely.

It will.

It will stopat red lights.

You will see, forsome intersections, that there's going to benew lighting signals.

There's four lights andone is a white light that is transit only.

That's for the transit.

So, there's a littlebit of a headway, but not much.

But, it is, you know,going to be a significant education component forus to understand how to co-exist; cyclists,pedestrians, and car, as well.

And I want to give you achance to talk about–you have some programinvolving youth here in the city.

Absolutely.

So, we're excited.

One of the things that hasbeen important for us from the beginning of thisproject is to make sure that it is aninclusive project.

Uh-huh.

So, not with ourconstruction workers, that when you look out intothe field, it's diverse.

It representsthe community.

So, it's not justthe construction side.

There's another side.

You have engineers, youhave communications, those are within communityrelations and, so, we're teaming up with MayorDuggan, you know about the 5,000 jobs.

Sure, the young peopleworking in the summer.

Yup.

The Grow Detroit's YoungTalent and, so, we're partnering with them andwe're looking for nine interns.

We actually have ourapplication process on our website.

The application deadlineis May 11th and we also have just an informationsession that's going to be on Tuesday, May 5th at theMatrix Human Services at 6:00 that people canlearn more about it.

But, we're looking forDetroiters, qualified, again, looking atdifferent ways to make sure our young people– Come out and bea part of it.

Absolutely, are apart of this, as well.

Ok, we'll I'm lookingforward to that day I can step out my doorand get on the train.

We are, too.

[laughs] I feel likeit's coming soon.

Thank you guysfor being here.

Thank you.

Thanks forhaving us, so much.

That's ourprogram for today.

Thanks for watching.

You can get moreinformation about our guests atAmericanBlackJournal.

Org.

And, as always, connectwith us on Facebook and on Twitter.

Plus, you can also hearour program on WDET 101.

9 FM.

We'll see you next time.

[music]    At DTE Energy, we believethat we have a  greater responsibility.

 We believe that being partof a community means being  involved in thefabric of that community.

 Investing time, effort,and resources in the  communities we serve.

 DTE Energy Foundation isa proud sponsor of  American Black Journal.

   .

Source: Youtube

On the scale & complexities of the High Speed Rail project (SG-MY Retreat Press Conference)

PM Lee: Well, it is a very big project.

You are talking about complete, new line.

From Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, it is 400-something kilometres.

There are many engineering details which need to been worked out – how is the line going to be designed.

There are many operational details which need to be worked out – who is going to operate the company, how are the companies going to be structured, whether is it one company, multiple companies, is it one side, two sides.

There are also financial issues which has to be worked out, which means, where is the funding going to come from – debt, equity, government; how is it going to be divided between the two parties.

There is also structuring issues to be worked out.

For example, do we have Singapore build our part and Malaysia build your part and we join together in the middle, or do we have one company build both sides.

Do we have the same company operating the trains and owning the trains, or we have a company owning the trains and then somebody else operating them.

What happens to the tracks, how does that interface? What are the control arrangements – where will the trains be controlled, what are the arrangements in case of contingencies? There are solutions to all these problems, because there are other such train projects which cross borders, and which involve more than one government.

Channel train from London to Paris.

There are many other trains in Europe which cross borders.

China to Hong Kong, there is a high speed train going to come.

So there are precedence, but there are issues which we have to work through and resolve.

We have to discuss and apply our minds and decide what is best for our circumstances.

This takes some time, we are working hard at it.

Papers have to be written, consensus reached, after considering all the relevant factors to make sure that the project runs well.

I don’t see them as insoluble problems, we are getting there, we just need a bit more time to work everything out.

Source: Youtube

On site & project deadline of the High Speed Rail terminus (SG-MY Retreat Press Conference)

PM Lee: Well, we are hoping it will come through too and we are confident that it will come through.

It is just a matter of couple of years, earlier or later, what is the feasible, ambitious target which we should set for ourselves.

Why is it Jurong East? Last year I said there were three possibilities, Jurong East was one of them, Tuas was the second one, and city centre was the third one.

From the trains’ point of view, of course to be in the city centre is the best.

Then you go from city centre to city centre, and you arrive at the place you want to be.

But from the point of view of cost, as well as engineering feasibility, it is the hardest.

Because to bring a train all the way from Tuas into the city centre, aboveground, there is not a lot of space left.

Underground, frankly there is also not a lot of space left.

Because underground in Singapore, everywhere you dig, you either find a cable or a tunnel or a pipe or somebody is going to put one there.

[Laughter] And so it is very difficult.

To put it in Tuas, it is easiest, but it is quite far away from the city centre and it is not a centre of activity and business as such.

It is an industrial area – factories there, refineries, shipyards, but there is no business.

In Jurong East, you have business, you have population, you have a regional centre which is already developing, and this will add to the regional centre, because it will make it a very attractive place, and people can come in and you are there at the place which you want to be.

If you want to be somewhere else than Jurong East, Jurong East is going to be connected to the rest of Singapore with three, four MRT lines in the long term.

You can get on to an MRT line, you can be anywhere else you want, including Changi Airport, within half an hour.

And if you need to be in Jurong East, there will be hotels there, there will be shops there, there will be factories; not so far away if you need to visit a factory, there will be restaurants, businesses, everything is in Jurong East.

Last year’s National Day Rally, I talked about Jurong Lake District.

It is a very interesting project.

Lawrence Wong who is here is the Chairman of the Committee making it happen, and we are going to convert the two gardens – the Japanese Garden and the Chinese Garden – into something really special and build a very beautiful environment around that.

We will take back some of the land, redevelop it, make it a beautiful living environment.

And the High-Speed Rail terminal will add to that.

So I think it is a win-win deal.

PM Najib: Notwithstanding the complexities of the project, bearing in mind the physical construction alone will take five years, and the design will take a year, which means if you add 2015 by six, it will take you beyond 2020.

That is why we will not want to announce a new deadline, but hopefully, when our two governments can agree on the bilateral arrangements, as mentioned by Prime Minister Lee, and if Singapore builds their side and we build our side, hopefully the two lines will meet at some point.

[Laughter] PM Lee: At the same point.

PM Najib: At the same point.

Then we will get our High-Speed Rail.

Source: Youtube

Sydney Light Rail Flythrough – May 2015

The New South Wales Government is expanding Sydney's light rail network with a project that will transform the city's public transport, and revitalise the Central Business District.

This new 12 kilometre light rail will provide a fast, reliable public transport service from Circular Quay through the CBD, to Kingsford and Randwick via Surry Hills, Moore Park and Kensington.

From Wynyard Station to Town Hall, a 1 kilometre pedestrian zone will be created.

Light Rail will operate safely through new pedestrianised space That will connect some of the city's busiest cultural, shopping and commercial precincts.

New paving, street trees, lighting and furniture, will create a welcoming environment for workers, shoppers and tourists.

There are nineteen stops along the route.

A fleet of modern, electric powered light rail vehicles with air conditioning and accessible low floor design will provide customers with a highly reliable, turn up and go service.

Light Rail will be integrated with Opal, Sydney's new electronic ticketing system allowing customers to easily move between different types of public transport.

From Central, the route will travel towards the South-East, through Surry Hills with a stop at Ward Park.

Crossing the Eastern Distributor via a new bridge, the route will operate in a tunnel under Moore Park West before re-emerging on the sporting precinct side of Anzac Parade.

Additional special event services between Central Station and the Moore Park and Royal Randwick Racecourse stops will be provided during major events.

This highly sustainable, high capacity transport system will play a vital role in an integrated transport network, will transform Sydney, address traffic congestion, revitalise the urban environment and provide customers with additional transport options to meet existing and future demand.

For more information on Sydney Light Rail, please visit sydneylightrail.

Com.

Source: Youtube