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City will hold rail groundbreaking Feb. 22

By Gene Park

LAST UPDATED: 03:10 p.m. HST, Feb 11, 2011

Groundbreaking for Honolulu's $5.5 billion rail transit system is scheduled for Feb. 22 in Kapolei, according to the city. 

The city has sent out invitations for the long-awaited ceremony, which will be held near North-South Road. Gov. Neil Abercrombie and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye are both expected to attend. 

Progress on the controversial public works project went on a fast track after Abercrombie approved the Final Environmental Impact Study in December. 

After his signature, a programmatic agreement between several state and federal agencies was reached, and the Federal Transit Administration issued its "record of decision" last month, the last significant environmental hurdle for the project. 

The City Council also granted the city a special management area permit, the first of many construction permits the city will need to obtain for the 20-mile project. 

Last year the city awarded Kiewit Pacific Co. a $483 million contract to build the first third of the project from East Kapolei to Pearl City. 

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