Honolulu to Feds: OK Rail Work Or Costs Rise $100M

Michael Levine/Civil Beat

The cost of the Honolulu rail project could go up by more than $100 million if the Federal Transit Administration doesn't let construction begin soon.

That's the thrust of a request sent to the FTA by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation last week. The city is now formally asking for what's called a "Letter of No Prejudice," which would allow construction before the project is guaranteed federal funding.

The "LONP" would be an indication that the FTA is comfortable with the direction the project is heading, and any money the city spends on construction after receiving an LONP could be later covered by federal money. But an LONP would definitively not guarantee that the FTA will fund the project, and any construction costs would be at the city's risk.

The request is no big surprise — Interim Executive Director Toru Hamayasu has long said an LONP would be the next key hurdle on the road to getting $1.55 billion from the feds. But the timeline and the consequences of delays have never been explained in this much detail before.

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