Civil Beat Conclusion: Honolulu Rail Report 'Shoddy,' 'Biased' — and Right?

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 evaluated the key differences in four earlier articles:

Today we publish our conclusion. A discussion of the topic has already begun.

Just because something is "shoddy" and "biased" doesn't mean it's wrong.

Case in point, the independent financial report on Honolulu rail project that was blasted by Mayor Peter Carlisle. Consultants warned the project could cost taxpayers an additional $1.7 billion over the next 20 years. Carlisle derided the finding and questioned the integrity of its authors.

But a Civil Beat investigation of the study and the city's own financial projections determined there's good reason to believe taxpayers could be on the hook for more than they have been led to believe.

To some degree, however, Civil Beat found that Carlisle was right.

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