Hawaii- Cost-cutting continues to help make the completion of the Honolulu Rail Project a reality. After years of delays and cost over-runs, the troubled 20-mile light-rail line has a new plan in place. According to a new draft recovery plan, an array of cost-cutting measures will be put in place to help avoid another funding shortfall. Measures include: eliminating lighting in-between stations along the rail line, deferring construction of the $315 million Pearl Highlands Center, modifying sound barriers and re-designing overhead canopies. This coupled with a $188 million increase in tax revenues might be just enough to get the project across the finish line by the new target date of 2026.
The project stands as the largest public works project in state history. At its inception in 2012, the 20-mile span was originally billed at $5.26 billion with a 2020 completion date. The project is now forecasted to total nearly $9 billion and be completed by 2026. The city violated its agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) when construction and cost overruns lead to delays. This in turn has caused the FTA to freeze $744 million of the total project funds until the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit comes up with a recovery plan. The city hopes to partner with a private developer and acquire alternative funding to unfreeze federal funds and finish the remaining 4.1 miles of the rail line. A new contractor for this public-private partnership (P3) is set to be selected in September.