HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Federal Transit Administration has awarded $55 million for Honolulu's rail transit project.
The announcement was made by Hawaii's Congressional delegation. The money was the full amount that President Barack Obama had requested under a program that overall, was cut 20 percent by Congress.
"This is part of the New Starts program, and it was reduced," said Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle. "And Hawaii still got every penny, penny per penny, that we wanted."
According to Carlisle, the city was ready with other plans had the money been cut.
"It just would've meant that were going to have to work harder to get what we needed from other locations if necessary," he said. "But more likely, we'd continue to try to get this flow of funding from the federal government."
Hawaii's members of Congress say they are still working to get the full $1.55 billion dollars in planned Federal funding for rail, which is estimated to cost $5.3 billion.
Carlisle said rail will have a dependable Federal revenue stream because of the fact that this first request wasn't cut.
"That didn't happen, which means it's less likely to happen in the future," said Carlisle. "So we owe a big debt of gratitude to President Obama, as well as our Congressional delegation, headed up by Senator (Daniel) Inouye."
The city broke ground in February on the planned 20-mile elevated rail line running from Kapolei to Ala Moana. But construction can't begin until a final design is approved.