Rail to 'Plow Forward' With Or Without Federal Money

Dan Zelikman/Civil Beat

The clock is ticking for the Honolulu rail project to stake its claim to federal funding.

But even if the money from the nation's capital falls short or falls through, Mayor Peter Carlisle says the city is going to "plow forward" with the project.

Carlisle's statement on Hawaii Public Radio five weeks ago was perhaps the first time a local official indicated the system will be built with or without help from the federal government.

The general understanding until now has been that the city cannot proceed unless it receives $1.55 billion in New Starts funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and to fail in that aim would be a deal-breaker. That figure represents about 30 percent of the $5.2 billion price tag to construct the system.

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