comscore Carlisle: Feds still back rail project
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Carlisle: Feds still back rail project

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The Federal Transit Administration’s support of Honolulu’s planned $5.5 billion rail project remains unchanged, Mayor Peter Carlisle said after completing a recent trip to Washington, D.C., to assure officials that his new administration remained committed to completing the project.

Carlisle traveled to Washington last week with City Council members Todd Apo and Ikaika Anderson and Deputy Transportation Director Toru Hamayasu to show a "unified" commitment to the project.

"There were concerns because of Honolulu’s unfortunate history of rail projects starting and stopping," Carlisle said through a spokeswoman. "So we wanted to show our commitment to the project and our desire to get it started."

The team met in Washington with FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff.

"Rogoff said he was anxiously looking forward to move our rail project along, and his interest in it hasn’t changed at all since the inception of the project," Carlisle said. "Administrator Rogoff also said President Obama’s 2011 budget includes $55 million for this project, and there’s no reason to believe this will change."

After being sworn in Oct. 11, Carlisle immediately pledged his support for rail, saying he thought the project could move forward as soon as March.

Groundbreaking still requires the governor to approve the project’s final environmental impact statement. Gov. Linda Lingle has said she would not do so until her administration completes an independent review of the project’s finances, and final approval likely would rest with the next governor.

Carlisle returned from the four-day trip on Saturday.

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