Rail project timelapse cameras on the taxpayer's dime?UPDATED 7:28 PM HST Sep 02, 2014Video Transcript
as it's being built. It should make for cool video... But it carries nearly a quarter million dollar price tag.. That's raising eyebrows! KITV4's Andrew Pereira asked planners whether that's money they really needed to spend... 10 128 Since its inception, a lot of eyes have been on Honolulu's $5.3 billion rail project. And soon, a few dozen more"electronic eyes" will join in. DAN GRABAUSKAS: "ARCHIVAL PHOTOGRAPHY IS PRETTY COMMON ON MEGA-PROJECTS LIKE THIS." The transit authority says cameras like these will help ensure taxpayers get their money's worth. DAN GRABAUSKAS: "THOSE CAMERAS ARE THERE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE CATCH ANY OTHER ISSUES THAT MAY COME UP WITH SOMEONE TRYING TO STEAL FROM WORKSITES, WHICH IS VERY COMMON. THE CAMERAS ARE ALSO THERE TO HELP US TO MONITOR THE WORK THAT'S BEING DONE BY THE CONTRACTOR. IF THEY SAY CERTAIN THINGS WERE BEING DONE, CERTAIN CREWS WERE ON SITE." But at $223,000, the contract for high-definition cameras at all 21 future rail stations calls for the ability to produce "time-lapse construction videos." Sound Transit in Seattle did just that with this cool time-lapse video, but only at one construction site, not 21. HART Executive Director and CEO Dan Grabauskas maintains the cameras that'll be installed by EarthCam Inc. for Honolulu's rail project are NOT nice to have... he says they're downright essential. DAN GRABAUSKAS: "OVERALL, IN A $5 BILLION PROJECT, IT'S NOT ONLY A DROP IN THE BUCKET BUT IT'S ACTUALLY AN INVESTMENT IN MAKING SURE THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE ON BUDGET." Last month, the rail project was saddled with worrisome headlines when the transit authority announced the lowest bid for construction of the first nine rail stations was $100 million dollars over budget. That's why contracts for things like time-lapse cameras... ANN KOBAYASHI: "THERE'S NOTHING THE COUNCIL AS A WHOLE CAN SAY ABOUT IT, BUT I'M NOT SURE WHAT THEY'RE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH." ...have suddenly become a lot more controversial. ANN KOBAYASHI: "THEY KEEP SAYING ON TIME, ON BUDGET SO WE'LL BE WATCHING." Andrew Periera, KITV4 News. Under the contract, all of the time-lapse cameras will be removed once construction ends. All of the video taken will be viewable by the transit authority through the internet.