By Malia Zimmerman | Hawaii Reporter
HONOLULU — U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who is the Senate Appropriations Committee chairman, is the most powerful advocate for the capital’s controversial rail project.
The senior Democrat pledged to bring in this year as much as $250 million in New Starts funding and $1.55 billion in federal funding for the $5.3 billion elevated steel-on-steel rail project.
But Republicans in the House Appropriations Committee seem to have thrown a kink in that plan — at least for now.
A House subcommittee removed $150 million of the $250 million in New Starts funding allocated for the Honolulu rail.
Greg Cohen, who is the head of the American Highway Users Alliance, called the House action a “direct shot” from the House at Inouye.
“Ultimately, it is in negotiations, and something for the House to use as leverage in negotiations with the Senate,” Cohen said.