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Rail project in line for share of $510 million in federal funding

By Kevin Dayton

LAST UPDATED: 2:35 p.m. HST, Nov 29, 2011

Honolulu's rail transit project is eligible to receive a share of  $510 million in federal funds next year provided that the city is able to complete a critical full-funding grant agreement with the Federal Transit Administration by the end of 2012.

The money is set aside for the Honolulu Rail Transit Project and "a small number of rail transit projects in other cities, that are also in the final stages of development," according to Sen. Daniel K. Inouye's office.

The financial plan for the rail project anticipates receiving $125 million in federal funding next year to cover construction and other costs.

"We are pleased to hear the news about the available federal funds," said Toro Hamayasu, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation interim executive director and CEO. "The project remains on track in terms of meeting the deadlines and guidelines in obtaining our Full-Funding Grant Agreement and we will continue to work hard to make that happen," he said in a press release.

"In addition, our GET revenue for the last two quarters has come in higher than we had projected, which positions us well to complete the project," Hamayasu continued.

The rail funding is among several Hawaii projects receiving funding in fiscal year 2012  under the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012, according to an announcement by Inouye, the Senate Committee on Appropriations chairman, and Sen. Daniel K. Akaka.

The Senate approved the Conference Report for the measure by a vote of 70 to 30, and President Barack Obama signed the report on H.R. 2112, according to the announcement.

The legislation includes the Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Science, and Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations bills, as well as a short-term Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government through Dec. 16. 

Language in the measure specifies that funding "shall be available for preliminary engineering, final design, and construction of projects that receive a Full Funding Grant Agreement during calendar year 2012," according to the bill.

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