State briefs for September 27

Federal officials tell Honolulu to raise rail project price

HONOLULU — Federal officials told the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation that it needs to raise the price tag for construction of the 20-mile rail project by $134 million.


Authority Executive Director Andrew Robbins said the Federal Transit Administration wants the increase reflected in the revised financial plan to demonstrate the city has enough money to complete the project.

That amount will raise the cost of construction to nearly $8.3 billion, but Robbins said the nearly $8.2 billion budget has not changed.

The FTA is withholding about $745 million in funding until the authority provides a recovery plan to show where the money will come from and that the city can finish the project. The agency wants the plan by late November.

The city had pledged in 2012 to complete the rail and its 21 stations for $5.26 billion, but construction and financing costs have soared in recent years. It was initially planned to be completed next year, but federal officials believe the project won’t be finished until September 2026.

The extra $134 million stems from a risk analysis earlier this year.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has said the authority should reduce expenses or find another way to satisfy the FTA, and the city should not have to cover the extra cost.

“We’re going to look at our funding sources, see how they’re performing,” Robbins said. “I think we’ll have to show sources of funds that include the $134 million.”

Appeals court overturns former Hawaii cadet’s conviction

HONOLULU — A Hawaii appeals court has overturned the harassment conviction of a former member of a National Guard youth program, finding the state failed to prove one element of the crime.

The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals handed down the ruling Monday, overturning Burt Calaycay’s 2016 conviction stemming from his time in the Hawaii Youth Challenge Academy.

Calaycay was charged in 2014 with misdemeanor harassment involving a 17-year-old female cadet. He was also charged with two counts of misdemeanor sexual assault involving contact with another 17-year-old cadet.

During the 2016 trial on the harassment charge, the teen told the court that Calaycay’s propositions for sex made her feel uncomfortable, scared, unsafe and depressed that she would not be able to complete the program.

A judge found Calaycay guilty and proposed a $100 fine. Calaycay appealed the conviction.

He also pleaded no contest to the sexual assault charges, but his sentencing was put on hold during the appeals process.

The court found the harassment victim did not say that Calaycay’s proposition made her fear that he was going to inflict bodily injury, a standard required under the offense.


Calaycay is scheduled to be sentenced on the sexual assault charges in November. He is seeking to avoid conviction by deferring his no contest pleas.

A Hawaii National Guard spokesman said Calaycay was removed from the youth program following the criminal charges.

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