Civil Beat Analysis: City's Rail Tax Plan Optimistic

Rail Transit Division

Editor's Note: After three months of work, a state consultant in early December released a report reviewing Honolulu's financial plan for its proposed $5.5 billion rail project. Civil Beat is taking a closer look at the two analyses and will evaluate the key areas in which they differ: construction revenue, construction costs, operating revenue and operating costs.

When it comes to long-range financial projections, there's only one thing we can be sure of: They're all wrong. But finding out who's closest requires a look at the methodology and assumptions each employed in coming to their conclusions.

This story, the first in our series, explores the largest piece of the puzzle — a $500 million discrepancy in tax revenue to build the train system. It looks at strengths and weaknesses in the financial models used by the city and the state's financial consultant.

Other stories — including Civil Beat's conclusion on the financial future of rail in Honolulu — will follow. A discussion of the topic has already begun.

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