Rail at the Airport, Part 1: What Happened?

UPDATED 10/25 5:15 p.m.

Editor's note: This article is the first in a three-part series examining why Honolulu's proposed rail line had to be shifted at Honolulu International Airport, who was responsible and how much it will cost taxpayers. Read the overview here.

Part 1: What Happened? | Part 2: Who Was Responsible? | Part 3: How Much Will It Cost?



In 2006, the city started down a path to have its rail project serve Honolulu International Airport (HNL).

The city chose the route past the airport preferred by the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), which owns and operates the facility.

"After reviewing your proposed alignments in the airport area, we prefer the alignment with the transit guideway passing through HNL along Aolele Street with one station near the airport overseas parking garage and the other at the intersection of Aolele Street and Lagoon Drive," HDOT Deputy Director Brian Sekiguchi wrote in a letter to rail chief Toru Hamayasu in August 2006.

The HDOT did warn the city about some potential pitfalls, but not the one that ultimately forced a route change.

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