Latest Articles

  • What Can We Do About the Rail? Nothing. Tackle Traffic Congestion!

    · By Panos Prevedouros

    Various groups are energized and urge me and each other to do something about stopping Honolulu’s rail project. The recent commotion has been brought about by (1) the large delays; the project is roughly three years behind schedule because the city did a poor job with the archaeological inventory and then deliberately delayed and obstructed the two lawsuits; (2) the revelations last December that the project is already about $900 million over budget, and (3) the City Ethics Commission’s investigation on the non-disclosure of rail project related gifts to five

  • State Lawmakers Lambaste Mayor Over Request to Extend Rail Tax

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Hawaii lawmakers took turns hammering Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Monday over his request to let the county continue charging a half-percent surcharge on the General Excise Tax to fund the city’s rail project.

    The 20-mile, 21-station project, budgeted at $5.2 billion, is now facing a shortfall of up to $910 million, spurring the mayor to ask the Legislature to make the surcharge permanent instead of letting it sunset as planned in 2022.

    “I’m here because I think it’s the last resort,” Caldwell told a panel of House and Senate

  • Honolulu Rail Deficit Could Be Closer to $1 Billion

    · By Nick Grube

    Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s desire to protect $210 million in federal bus funding means the city’s $6 billion rail project needs even more money than officials had recently announced.

    In December, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Executive Director and CEO Dan Grabauskas said the project was estimated to go over budget by $550 million to $700 million.

    And while Grabauskas knew the city didn’t want to spend the $210 million on rail, he didn’t include it in the projected shortfall. If he had, the range would be $710 million to $910 million.

  • How Safe Has the Honolulu Rail Project Been?

    · By Sophie Cocke

    Honolulu rail workers once drilled through one of Hawaiian Electric Co.’s underground transmission lines, causing more than $50,000 in damage.

    A worker fell from scaffolding erected along one of the project’s 23-foot columns because the crew failed to properly secure brackets. Luckily, the worker’s “retractable” safety gear stopped his fall.

    While removing a bolt from a column platform, sparks caught an 8-foot by 8-foot section of grass on fire.

    Several workers were doused with hydraulic fluid when a hose ruptured while a crew was digging a trench.

     

  • Feds: ‘Aggressive Cost Containment’ Needed for Rail Project

    · By Nick Grube

    Aggressive cost containment is necessary if Honolulu plans to stay within budget on its $5.2 billion rail project, according to a recent report from a federal contractor hired to oversee design and construction progress.

    It’s a dire assessment of the fiscal standing of the largest public works project in Hawaii’s history, and one that seems to conflict with what top rail officials have been saying about finishing the project on time and within its budget.

    And the report was issued before the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Rapid Transit learned that bids for

  • High Construction Costs Could Delay Honolulu Rail Opening

    · By Nick Grube

    The first leg of Honolulu’s $5.2 billion rail project might not open on time due to higher-than-expected construction costs.

    On Tuesday, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Executive Director and CEO Dan Grabauskas announced his agency would rebid a contract to build the first nine rail stations.

    The initial bid had come in more than $110 million more than expected, and Grabauskas’s hope is to split the contract into three, three-station segments as a way to rein in the cost.

    Honolulu’s rail project is facing increasing costs, forcing officials to reevaluate their

  • Honolulu Rail Takes Shape, City Prepares for Development Boom

    · By Sophie Cocke

    Dozens of rail columns now dot the Oahu landscape as the rail project picks up speed.

  • Companies Jockey for $1 Billion Worth of Honolulu Rail Contracts

    · By Sophie Cocke

    HART’s second “Industry Day” event attracted local and international companies angling for business.

  • Low Cash Flow Leads Rail Authority to Ask Honolulu for $1.5 Billion Loan

    · By Sophie Cocke

    Councilman Joey Manahan says request leaves council “between a rock and a hard place.”

  • Hele On: Courts Rule in Favor of Honolulu Rail

    · By Nick Grube

    The rail project is on track now that legal wrangling is complete, but will there be more unexpected costs?

  • Urban High: Rail Lets Honolulu Grow Up

    · By Nick Grube

    City and state officials are working to increase urban density around the $5.26 billion rail project.

  • Honolulu Rail Audit: Too Many Consultants, Too Little Accountability

    · By Nick Grube

    Relying too heavily on outside consultants could cause problems for $5.26 billion project.