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.