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A behind-schedule and over-budget rail project in Hawaii that got $70 million in the coronavirus stimulus package is now angling for more federal money to close a $3.68 billion funding gap.
The 20-mile project, run by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART), began in 2009 and later got $1.8 billion in federal money, including some from the economic stimulus signed by former President Barack Obama. The mayor of Honolulu at the time said the project was "shovel-ready," but ground was not broken for the project until 2011.
Now, according to the Associated Press, HART plans to spend $1 million on federal lobbyists in the coming years to help close the funding gap on the project that the Hawaii state auditor said the "hallmark" of is "[o]ver-promise, under-deliver."
"While never completed, it’s still digging a deeper money pit for taxpayer dollars," Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa., says of the project in her April "Squeal Award," which is designed to call out government waste.