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Ansaldo to continue its rail work; unveils images of train cars

By Marcel Honoré

LAST UPDATED: 12:29 p.m. HST, Mar 07, 2013

Honolulu transit officials cleared the way today for Ansaldo Honolulu JV to continue its work on the train’s operating system and rail cars, despite recent financial and legal woes from the venture’s parent company, Finmeccanica.

Executives from those firms told Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation officials that Finmeccanica has rebounded from its losses in 2011, and that it has reinvested hundreds of millions of dollars into AnsaldoBreda. That partner firm in Ansaldo Honolulu JV is designing the transit line’s rail cars and has been losing money for years.

Ansaldo executives also unveiled images of Honolulu’s driverless train models today. They noted that the colors and seal on the outside of the trains were subject to change.

The executives told HART officials that the city has several layers of protection to ensure the rail contract will be fulfilled, including a strongly rated insurance bond and an obligation on the contract from Finmeccanica,   

 Should AnsaldoBreda still be unable to complete the rail cars, Ansaldo STS, the principal partner would remain responsible for the contract and “is more than capable” of carrying it out based on its financial strength, Ansaldo STS’ U.S. treasurer and vice president for administration Joseph Pozza told HART board members.

“There’s a proven track record here that people should be confident about,” HART CEO Dan Grabauskas said of the two companies. “The financial capacity of the principal company is there,” he added, referring to Ansaldo STS.

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loquaciousone wrote:
Notice the rainbow on the car. Will it be called a Warrior car when the Kane ride it and a Rainbow car when the Wahine ride in it?
on March 7,2013 | 11:43AM
Sunny wrote:
There's going to be a contest to name the rail system.
on March 7,2013 | 11:58AM
what wrote:
Ansaldo might nominate HART board member Don Horner in sealing the deal with Ansaldo. Ansaldo was the weak bidder for the contract vis a vis Bombardier and Sumitomo, but Don Horner came through for the corrupted, broke, feeble Ansaldo bid so that Don Horner's bank BNP Paribas could more likely get back all the money that Ansaldo owes BNP, owner of First Hawaiian Bank. It's all scam to protect big money interests.
on March 7,2013 | 01:56PM
lani_moo wrote:
Who knows this? Civil Beat? Hawaii Reporter? It would be a great story...
on March 7,2013 | 02:55PM
OldDiver wrote:
Even Ben Cayetano did not claim corruption. If there was corruption you can be sure Ben would have filed a lawsuit.
on March 7,2013 | 07:54PM
Wazdat wrote:
Anyone who can read or has COMMONSENSE
on March 7,2013 | 03:07PM
roy2335 wrote:
Good one.
on March 7,2013 | 02:39PM
ukuleleblue wrote:
Pretty soon we will ride one of these sleek new trains with a nice ocean and mountain view and zipping past all the sorry cars stuck in traffic.
on March 8,2013 | 12:32AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
No surprise here. It would be near impossible to cancel Ansaldo because the contract would have to be re-bid completely and that would put a stake through the HART (that sounds familiar). Thing is, Finmecanica needs to sell off and offload the train division or it faces severe problems down the road. When the sale of the division takes place, anything can happen. There is a fair chance that this could all become a huge mess. Bad choice from the start and a manipulated bid process by the City has again jeopardized a lot of tax money. The smart thing is to kill this bad project right now rather than suffer a lingering death that will cost more. I mean, $5.3 billion and it does not reduce traffic congestion!
on March 7,2013 | 11:43AM
ponowai wrote:
1 Also don't believe the city will be able to maintain everything without raising taxes again.
on March 7,2013 | 12:45PM
loquaciousone wrote:
If the cars are driverless, why do they need a windshield in the front?
on March 7,2013 | 11:44AM
kiragirl wrote:
Because it comes with wiper blades. Oh, and to keep the cockroaches from flying in.
on March 7,2013 | 11:58AM
Sunny wrote:
It so the passengers can see where they are going and the cars can be operated manually if needed.
on March 7,2013 | 11:59AM
Allenk wrote:
If there is no driver, who is going to manage conflicts among the passengers and collect fares - or is that done at the stations prior to boarding?
on March 7,2013 | 02:18PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
There will be fare gates. There will also be HART security personnel on board and at all stations to ensure the safety of passengers.
on March 7,2013 | 02:24PM
loquaciousone wrote:
HAW HAW HAW HEE HEE HEE HOO HOOO HOOOBOYY THAT'S A GOOD ONE. SECURITY?// HAR HAR HAR ... You mean like security guards or prison guards? I don't think those prison guards will fit through the door.
on March 7,2013 | 02:41PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Get a grip. Security personnel will include HART security and HPD dedicated to rail system security, along with closed-circuit TV, and well-lit stations and platforms.
on March 7,2013 | 02:58PM
Wazdat wrote:
GOOD grief, we can't even pave the roads correctly, but we can operate a train. Hahaha
on March 7,2013 | 03:09PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Another cost that wasn't disclosed or budgeted for I'm sure. We'll probably need a transit police force to keep the homeless folks from living in the stations.
on March 7,2013 | 07:02PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
BluesBreaker wrote: "Get a grip. Security personnel will include HART security and HPD dedicated to rail system security...."

Does the HPD know they will be dedicated to train platforms? Which duties will they be pulling HPD officers from for the train?
on March 7,2013 | 08:07PM
Kuniarr wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on March 7,2013 | 04:32PM
OldDiver wrote:
This was the nonsense spread by Cayetano and Slater during the election which has been proven false.
on March 7,2013 | 07:56PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
BluesBreaker wrote: "There will be fare gates. There will also be HART security personnel on board and at all stations to ensure the safety of passengers."

You may want to check with HART about that. The last I heard there was going to be one attendant at each station whose job was to hide THE key to the restroom. Can you direct me to the part of the financial plan that discusses this extensive security detail at each of the 20 stations and riding on the train?

With all these HART security people falling all over each other, why will we need the HPD stationed there too? (See your claims below)
on March 7,2013 | 08:12PM
entrkn wrote:
Honolulu needs a commuter rail system more than most can imagine...
on March 7,2013 | 11:46AM
Fred01 wrote:
on March 7,2013 | 01:56PM
Poidogs wrote:
Thank you! I totally agree.
on March 7,2013 | 07:22PM
Pukele wrote:
The train has not left the station. The city has not satisfied the ruling in the lawsuit filed at the State Supreme Court. Therefore, the city does not have permission from the FTA to continue construction. The lawsuit in Federal Court is about to be appealed. The city does not have bids on 50% of the project. If the bids come in 5% over budget, there is no plan on how to finance this project. The State Legislature, the City Council, and HART have not looked at the risks outlined in the public record. This project has a high likelihood of costing more than what is being projected. This project has a high likelihood of having ridership that is less than what is projected. If we are not going to build a “White Elephant”, the Council and HART need to start mitigating the risks outlined in the public record for this project.
on March 7,2013 | 11:48AM
BluesBreaker wrote:
You are making claims about ridership and cost that have no basis in fact. The FTA and its two independent auditors all found the projections of ridership and cost reasonable and likely.
on March 7,2013 | 02:26PM
Eagle156 wrote:
Is the FTA God? The projected ridership is a bad joke.
on March 7,2013 | 03:47PM
Pukele wrote:
The FTA has made pronouncements regarding cost and ridership in the past and they have been wrong. Read the public record. This is a very risky project. Now that the politics is over, the city needs to face these risks. We do not know the cost of the finished rail project.. Ridership is based on moving 30,000 bus riders from their bus route to rail and these bus riders have not been notified. Thousands could stop taking transit because of these changes. The city has not worked with car commuters to get them to consider switching to transit. This will be a tough sell when car commuters find out the true speed of rail, the cost, and the restrictions placed on transit riders compared to staying in their cars.
on March 7,2013 | 03:58PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Oh Please... has the city or state EVER come in under budget on any large construction project? I recall the H-3 costing double what it was projected to cost and years behind schedule on completion. This project will be no different, FHB and the unions will see to that, bet on it.
on March 7,2013 | 06:53PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
BluesBreaker wrote: "The FTA and its two independent auditors all found the projections of ridership and cost reasonable and likely."

Is that the same FTA who was so sure about the ridership and cost of the Tren Urbano in Puerto Rico? Because they missed the boat on that one by quite bit.
on March 7,2013 | 08:16PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Well perfect! Ansaldo didn't mention being nearly bankrupt and the Mayor didn't tell them that Rail collections are already $33,000,000.00 short. It sounds like a valuable use of everyone's time.
on March 7,2013 | 12:10PM
kaupena wrote:
So now, all of a sudden, this company has rebounded and is now financially sound?? What about all the lawsuits and poor design issues. It seems like they NEED our money (peter), and use it to pay for something else (paul), or even for their golden parachutes. It just doesn't feel right.
on March 7,2013 | 12:30PM
Publicbraddah wrote:
Rail sets the stage for the Hoopili and Koa Ridge subdivisions. This was the master plan. ;-) Altho Koa Ridge will be across Waipio Gentry, expect a huge 'Park and Ride' after the H1/H2 merge.
on March 7,2013 | 12:59PM
pridon wrote:
No park and ride, only kiss and go in the plans. Would have to build parking gargages and have security. Only place for park and ride would at the stadium
on March 7,2013 | 01:12PM
ponojr wrote:
That no one going use.
on March 7,2013 | 01:19PM
Mythman wrote:
It's simply breathtaking! Can anyone tell if there is going to be enough space in between the train and the side of the rail structure for the homeless to set up camp on the structure? This might be the solution to the homeless camped on the sidewalk problem?
on March 7,2013 | 01:14PM
loquaciousone wrote:
My question is a very technical one and requires a detailed knowledge of rail cars and their manufacture process. Are they going to be left handed or right handed cars?
on March 7,2013 | 01:34PM
localguy wrote:
WOW!!!! All the hot air from Ansaldo could power the Nei for years. Talk is talk, proof is when we actually can see the rail cars under construction. Until then, promises promises. We'll see what the future holds for rail in HI.
on March 7,2013 | 01:34PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
I still don't see the wisdom in using a company that's been losing money for years and is on the verge of bankrupcy, regarless of whatever bond they may have to guarantee completion. At best, they'll probably cost more than projected, at worse they won't complete the job. FHB really put the fix in on this one, Don Horner should be jailed for operating in the best interests of his employer and not the taxpayers of Hawaii. Big business and the unions run this state, they've proved it once again.
on March 7,2013 | 06:59PM
inverse wrote:
Ansaldo Photoshopped one green stripe, one rainbow and the words "Ala Moana" on a stock image of their HEAVY rail, steel on steel train car and that convinces HART, Horner and Caldwell that their near bankrupt company is all ready to go and build the Aloha Train to nowhere?
on March 7,2013 | 02:46PM
Kuhlbreeze wrote:
I see the number of haters has gone way down. I guess the Cayetano campaign has run out of money!
on March 7,2013 | 03:43PM
soundofreason wrote:
"Executives from those firms told Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation officials that Finmeccanica has rebounded from its losses in 2011">>> OHHHH! They TOLD them they rebounded. Well, that's that then. Guess we don't really need those financial reports they were asked for then.
on March 7,2013 | 05:12PM
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