The agency overseeing Honolulu rail’s construction is relying on outdated financial figures and budgets, and it could take steps to complete the project more “economically, effectively and efficiently,” a city audit has concluded.
Rail’s price tag has ballooned by an additional $1.3 billion in the past year and a half, and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation could do a better job regularly updating the public and the city’s elected leaders on the climbing price tag, the city Auditor’s report stated.
The city Auditor’s report further stated that HART’s latest cost overrun figures aren’t reliable — and that they’re likely to climb even further. HART’s current estimates put the project’s cost at some $6.57 billion.
The audit follows a Thursday press conference in which HART Executive Director Dan Grabauskas went on the offensive a day early against the report. He described its findings as flawed and exaggerated, and he maintained that city Auditor Edwin Young was pressured by the City Council to rush and finish it nearly three months ahead of schedule.
Grabauskas further excoriated Young on Thursday for the leak of the confidential audit’s findings before its release. The embattled rail executive has faced recent criticism from top city leaders in an election year over HART’s handling of the project, which is now some two years behind schedule. He has so far deflected questions regarding a call by the City Council Chairman to resign.