The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation signed a $1.4 billion contract today with controversial rail car company Ansaldo Honolulu after months of scrutiny.
The contract includes $574 million for design, construction and delivery of 80 rail cars for the 20-mile $5.3 billion system, and $830 million in operations and maintenance over a 14-year period.
The contract calls for the delivery of 16 vehicles by 2014, and for the rest to be ready in 2018.
It was announced in March that Ansaldo Honolulu would win the contract, but the actual signing was delayed after the two losing bidders tried repeatedly to put the contract out for rebid.
The company became further embattled after its Italian parent company announced financial difficulties.
"We have strong safeguards in bonds and guarantees to protect us," said Toru Hamayasu, HARRT’s interim executive director.