Mayor Caldwell Affirms Commitment To Full 20-Mile, 21-Station Rail Transit.
June 24, 2016
Mayor Kirk Caldwell has reiterated his commitment to building the entire rail transit system, with a full route, all stations, and accompanying construction such as parking lots and highway off-ramps:
“First and foremost, I remain passionate in my commitment to rail, and fully committed to building the entire 20-mile, 21-station route, from Kapolei to Middle Street to Downtown and to Ala Moana. I am equally committed to securing the funding sources needed to complete the project in its entirety.
“HART estimates that it will cost $8.3 billion to finish the full route to Ala Moana. Right now, we have approximately $6.8 billion to work with. Even with the dramatic increases in construction costs over the last several years, we know that our $6.8 billion will for certain get the project to Middle Street. That’s 15 miles of rail and 13 stations, ending at Honolulu’s largest bus terminal. It also includes all of our rail cars and the already-completed Maintenance and Storage Facility.
“Several weeks ago, the Federal Transportation Authority gave us a deadline to tell them exactly what we can and will complete with our current funding and cost projections. Building out all guideways and all stations from East Kapolei to Middle Street is our answer back to the FTA.
“But that DOESN’T mean we are going to STOP at Middle Street.
“By keeping our current momentum to Middle Street, it will allow HART to keep the project moving at full pace, even as we look at possible cost reductions.
“Most importantly, while we are building toward Middle Street, I’m going to be working full-time with the federal government, our Congressional delegation, the state, and private partners to get the additional resources we need to finish the last 4.3 miles to Ala Moana.
“Calls to postpone station construction, strip away needed parking structures and on-ramps, and so on, to try to build a bit further with our current funds, are not realistic. To unfairly inconvenience neighborhoods, commuters and businesses a second time and suffer even higher construction costs when we “go back later” is not acceptable. And the fact is that such short-term cost savings simply will not be adequate to the task of building significantly further.
“We need to build this right, the first time, and not ‘kick the can’ down the road to the future. These are the fiscally-prudent and pragmatic next steps we must take to get the job – the whole job – done.”