Where Is Honolulu Rail's Federal Funding?

Courtesy Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation

WASHINGTON — The Honolulu rail project has fallen behind its own timetable for a federal funding guarantee, and needs to get moving soon to get a deal signed this year.

It's now mid-September. The president's budget office should have finished its own review by now. But the packet hasn't even made it that far — it's still sitting at the Federal Transit Administration.

Things should be farther along by now according to Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation CEO Dan Grabauskas, who is scheduled to travel to Washington for meetings with the FTA and others this week. He laid out his expected sequence of events in an interview with Civil Beat on June 7:

  • The draft of the Full Funding Grant Agreement would be submitted within a week to 10 days — around June 15.
  • The draft, which had already been approved by FTA staffers, would head to FTA leadership for around 30 days — taking us to around July 15.
  • The FTA would forward the packet, with some tweaks, to President Barack Obama and the Office of Management and Budget for another 30 to 60 days — bringing us, on the conservative side, to mid-September.
  • The administration would then submit notice to Congress that it intends to sign the funding guarantee. Congress would have 60 days to review the notice.

Still, Grabauskas says he's optimistic about the chances of securing the $1.55 billion promise, and the FTA is providing assurances that the deal is indeed going to happen this year.

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