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Cash-strapped HART offers feds 2 options for rail’s size, scope


    The rail construction on Kualakai Parkway near Kroc Center.

Local rail leaders delivered to their federal partners today an “interim” plan that outlines in broad strokes what they intend to do about the island’s beleaguered, cash-strapped transit project.

The official Interim Plan, which was put together at the Federal Transit Administration’s request, actually outlines two basic plans.

>> Under “plan A,” the city can find the money to close what’s now estimated to be at least a $1.8 billion gap and build to Ala Moana Center as planned.

>> Under “plan B,” it can significantly reduce rail’s size and scope to build a system on its existing $6.8 billion budget.

Local officials with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation say they “clearly” prefer plan A — building a full 20-mile, 21-station system from East Kapolei to Kakaako. To do that, they’ve requested the FTA give the city until June 30 to deliver its final “recovery plan” for what to do about rail. That would give rail officials enough time to try to secure more funding from state and city elected leaders through mid-2017.

However, the HART interim plan states that its officials will also start looking this month at ways to accomplish plan B.

As the plan notes, federal officials have already told HART and the city that stopping rail at Middle Street is not an option. That means HART will have to come up with other ideas that could work on a $6.8 billion budget.

“For example, HART is presently undertaking a detailed cost estimate and schedule analysis of one Plan B option, an alignment that would end at the Downtown Station,” the interim plan notes. Under that idea, HART would likely have to defer building rail’s Pearl Highlands Transit center, as well as its Kalihi, Kapalama, Iwilei and Chinatown stations.

The elevated guideway then would not run far enough to build rail’s Civic Center, Kakaako and Ala Moana stations.

HART’s interim plan also notes that the rail could use some combination of plans A and B, where it finds more funds but would still have trim back the project.

HART Interim by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd

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  • The only conclusion that can be reached from the plan as presented is that HART wants the Feds to require we build to Ala Moana. This has been what HART has been doing all along. HART needs to be CANNED NOW. We don’t want to keep building at any cost!

  • It is not correct that federal officials have already told HART and the city that stopping rail at Middle Street is not an option. That is very misleading. What the feds said is that project must proceed all the way to Ala Moana Center as specified in the Full Funding Grant Agreement if it is to receive the $1.5 billion the feds agreed to pay. Stopping at Middle Street or anywhere short of Ala Moana are options. It just means that doing so will result in the loss of federal funds.

      ( Duh) gee so far only 8 BILLION but I bet 10 BILLION is just on the horizon. Then onward to 20 BILLION AS THEY APROACH THE CITY
      CENTER. Look out Honolulu da tax man is going to call!!!!!! WAKE UP CALL FOR ALL OF HONOLULU

    • Don’t need the Feds $1.55 Billion. The practical option is to convert the rail guide way to a 2-lane, HOV(2) Reversible Expressway (no toll) from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium for less than $4 Billion already collected via GET. The two-lane reversible can be used for single passenger vehicles during non-peak hours. Tampa has built a Reversible Express Lane for $42 million per mile in year 2006, see The Tampa elevated structure is built similar to the Oahu Rail guide way (see typical cross section for both structures).

      The year 2030 downtown-bound commuter demand will be 15,000 commuters per hour above the existing highway capacity, according to the city’s Alternative Traffic Analysis. The reversible expressway can carry up to 17,000 commuters per hour (200 express buses and 3800 vehicles per hour) versus 3,000 RAIL commuters per hour.

      The express buses can continue on to Kaneohe, UH Manoa, Waiki and beyond. The Reversible Rail will eliminate traffic gridlock at the H-1/H-2 merge. New buses are 80% Federally funded and would cost the city about $200,000 per bus or $40 million for 200 new buses. Delete all rail related items to keep the project cost under $4 Billion.

      • Your logic is severely flawed. If you look at the video YOU posted you will noticed Tampa has built a Reversible Express Lane with an EMERGENCY service lane and exits. This rail structure was not designed for emergencies so how do you propose to solve the broken down car or accident scenario on this 20 mile stretch in the event it happens with NO EXIT for miles?

        This existing structure would be best served to turn into a scooter/motorcycle roadway instead and would promote much greater use of such vehicles as efficient transportation.

  • Still no mention of the O&M and where the power is coming from and who is responsible for it. Kill this foolish favor that Mufi and his successors have promised their lobbyists and campaign contributors.

  • Wait for June 2017? Something tell me that means go to the legislature and ask for the $$$$. Hmmm……….. I think voters better start asking their legislators if they intend to give the City the $$$$. November 8th is crawling up soon. Oahu taxpayers get ready you’re about to be taken. LOL

  • all of these “alternatives” are wasting time. all the debate over the tax for this will all end with the same result. Just extend the tax already and stop wasting time on trying to pull money from the air.

  • Thanks a billion Caldwell. I mean thanks 1.8 billion in the hole. Maybe you should cough up some of the one million you got paid for your one hour a month with Territorial Savings.

    • It wasn’t just Caldwell, it was the uninformed voters who put him in office. And you know what? They deserve the reaming they’re getting and they are about to get even more. Good for them.

      • And Caldwell lied and lied (On time on budget, etc) while using major City money (taxes) when he was city manager to bombard the airwaves with pro-rail propaganda. Just about everything “positive” about rail has been a lie. You are right though, if people vote him in again, they deserve what they get including the 30% property tax hike he has in store for Oahu.

  • Plan A should be kept in place to finish rail all the way to Ala Moana as planned. The easiest way to find the funding is the extend the small half percent general excise tax surcharge which we are already paying and barely feeling it. Stopping the project on an “interim” basis is dangerous because the project might never get finished to completion. We would have an incomplete system that will function with little benefit to west side residents who are suffering in horrendous traffic congestion in their commute to work downtown. We need to stay the course and finish the rail project properly.

    • Does “properly” included fixing the damage that has already occurred with the rail, which includes cheap seats that are already cracking? Someone pockets a big profit on a lousy job . It will all get worse before it is done. It will cost a fortune just to make the repairs that was not anticipated. Mismanagement and more money going into the pockets of crooks is a serious problem. Also this project has provided very few local jobs according to the latest reports.

      • No No Caldwell, Carlyle and MUFEE should be ahead of Grabourmoney&run!!!1
        run Grabasakas Run. The government in the islands have been tarnished and
        only prosecution of the bribery and special favors of the City Council and
        it leaders will satisfy the public.

      • Why was he hired in the first place??? He was a failure a in Boston and and he was a failure here and got bonus’ to do it. What city will he destroy next!

    • I am for Plan “C”. Tear it down, save taxpayers wasted money. The maintenance is going to drive us broke as the concrete is cracking, shims are cracking and cables are snapping. No weight from a train has gone on it yet. It is only safe for a bike path but not be even all the way because plastic does crack eventually. Best option is tear it down and avoid costly lawsuits.

      • Same. The unions got their money; doesn’t even need to be built. It’ll actually save $ to tear it down now rather than face the multiple billions it’ll cost later.

      • ukuleleblue says: “Stopping the project on an “interim” basis is dangerous because the project might never get finished to completion.”

        Not nearly as dangerous as the shoddy workmanship and substandard components that these rail profiteers are trying to get away with.

        I wouldn’t want any friends or or family… or even a rail shill like you, risking their lives on that poorly constructed pile of rickety junk.

        Now, isn’t it time you finally came clean and told everyone where on the mainland that you live and what your connection is to this mess of a rail project?

      • MUFFEE’S TRAIN IS FALLING DOWN, FALLING DOWN & HOPEFULLY ON CALDWELL’S BACK. We the people of Honolulu deserve to see the federal prosecutors working on the cons the City Leaders have pulled on us. WAKE UP HONOLULU AND SCREAM

    • What “we” need to do is impale ukuBS on a spit thru his dingleberry hole and the out his lie spewing pie hole. Then mount him up on one of those choo choo pylons for everyone to see.

      ASSuming, of course, he even resides in the nei.

      • Shop Ho, don’t you thing it’s time to come clear and tell ever one your connection to the NO corporation! Why you want hnl to be bankrupt. Rail will provide the conduit a new City of Honolulu .

    • Uks, you are wrong. The rail needs to circle the island in order to provide transport to our children when they are of working age. Our children in Laie’s development need transport as well as Waianae., Kaneohe, Kailua, Waimanalo, and Kahuku, let us not forget Millilani. We need to build for the future, for the children. We should not stop with Oahu, we need to include Maui, Molokai, BI, Lanai, and especially Kauai. We need to connect all islands via super ferry. Remember, cost is not a concern, we build for the children of Hawaii.

    • Uke says “Plan A should be kept in place to finish rail all the way to Ala Moana as planned.” As I recall, Plan A said the cost would be $5.1 billion, so yes, let’s keep Plan A in place at $5.1 billion.

  • Since the original purpose is to get people from the Ewa Plain to Ala Moana Shopping center just stop it wherever we run out of money and helicopter people the rest of the way to the shopping center. Makes financial sense!

    • I think for 8 billion we probably could have relocated everyone that wanted to move to luxury condos in town and still have plenty money left over for say a Rolls Royce for everyone. This was the dumbest thing any state ever tried. Knock it down and admit it was a mistake

      • emmm, $8 billion / 1 million (population of Oahu) = $8,000 per person in Oahu. Not sure where you would find a condo and/or Rolls Royce for $8k but I like your math. You work for HART? LOL

  • Option 1: Stop. Get some green paint and conduct a paint over…this will get the support of the environmentalist. I’m sure we can get a the same folks who created the video sales piece (make it look good) to create same for the “Great Green Out!”. Then have HART and all parties involved in The Rail to payback funding to Feds and I guess we’ll accept the lost of $ on our end. If litigation ensues then let all the aforementioned parties file civil suits against each other.

    Option 2: With all the opt-outs on stations. Station 1 will be the “only stop”. Hence, it will be simply be turned into the tourist tram ride…”Circle Honolulu Tour”. Primary market will be those tourist who stay over at the Aulani (Disney Hotel). This will be made part of their attraction package. Staffing by Disney characters with food and beverages services. Revenue used to payoff Federal funding refund.

  • On time and on budget baby! That’s how Kirk rolls, he’ll tell you one thing and give you another. Now he wants a second term and a change in the charter that would allow a third.
    Unfortunately the stupid voters will probably give it to him. Keep voting for the same corrupt politicians Hawaii, you’re getting exactly what you deserve.

    • kirk promised on time and on budget. Now we’re about 6 years behind schedule and billions over budget and counting. Insanity is voting him back in and hoping things will change.

  • Legalize gambling to pay for the rail. Then extend the rail from Waianae to Waimanalo. Build a casino/hotel on each end of the rail. Then Waianae and Waimanalo will have plenty of jobs and plenty of business.

  • the elephant in the room – NOBODY HAS THE MONEY! OUR CITIZENS ARE ON THE HOOK NOW FOR TOO MUCH FUNDING FOR SO LITTLE RETURN! “federal officials have already told HART and the city that stopping rail at Middle Street is not an option.” BALONEY! WHAT ARE THE REALLY TRUTHFUL PENALTIES FOR STOPPING AT MIDDLE STREET? no smoke screen please!

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