Federal officials tell Honolulu to raise rail project price

HONOLULU — Federal officials have told the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation that it needs to raise the price tag for construction of the 20-mile (32-kilometer) rail project by $134 million.

Authority Executive Director Andrew Robbins told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that 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.”

  1. harry oyama September 27, 2018 5:53 am Reply

    If that corrupt Mayor Kirk Chadwell is so adamant in having taxpayers foot another multi-million bill for that useless money drain pit Rail, then why don’t he personally take care of that problem he created by paying his fair share of property taxes? He lives in a Historic residence, so pays minimal taxes, works as a civil employee for the City making as much as the governor, works part time as a bank CEO for $200,000 a year, gets extra bonus for every bank loan he writes to Rail contractors, which is a possible conflict of interest the FBI may be interested in investigation.

    Just wait until the Rail construction gets to the down town area where electrical, sewer, water, cable, and business will likely suffer massive losses along with daily public services being interrupted causing additional losses in tax revenue that this corrupt mayor wants taxpayers to foot the oncoming additional taxes to cover these losses so that now instead of the $8 billion dollar price tag, Rail now is projected to cost $10 billion.

    Now considering Big Island’s request for another $850 million for lava damages and the State and County pension shortfall of $12.9 billion, taxpayers are in for a surprise and you should seriously think about not voting for the same crooks come this November election for the exact same business as usual, more taxes. Better just vote for any opposition than the same crooks in office, get rid of them NOW

  2. truth be known September 27, 2018 11:20 am Reply

    This “rail” project is rapidly turning into the “shaft” project. As Ross Perot would have described it, “A giant sucking sound”. 8.3 billion could have been spent more wisely for schools, teacher’s pay, low income housing, cluster communities, roads and parks.

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