FTA Watching Opponents, Wants $250M for Honolulu Rail

Adrienne LaFrance/Civil Beat

The Obama administration has budgeted $250 million for Honolulu rail this coming year, more than for any other transit project in the country.

But the Federal Transit Administration is keeping a close eye on Honolulu politics, and won't come through with a promise of $1.55 billion in federal money for rail unless Honolulu remains a "strong local partner," FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff told reporters in a conference call Tuesday morning.

In the call with reporters from around the country, Rogoff and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood talked about the $2.2 billion FTA Fiscal Year 2013 budget rolled out Monday. The president's proposal includes money for 29 transit projects in 15 states. The Honolulu rail project's quarter-billion-dollar haul would be the largest for any single project this coming year if the budget is approved by Congress — hardly a guarantee.

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