HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hart Human Resources committee is considering signing Dan Grabauskas to another contract as rail Executive Director and CEO. He does want to stay on the job. Today the board met behind closed doors and did not make any recommendation or vote. That will happen in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile the contract to build the first 9 transit stations is also weighing heavily on Grabauskas and Hart, namely because it's so expensive.
"The prices that came in were much higher than we expected. I'd say at this point all options are on the table," said Grabauskas.
Hart estimated a company could build the nine transit stations for $184 million. Instead the lowest bid came in at $294 million. The highest of the three bids was $320 million.
The transit authority is trying to figure out why. The construction market may be red hot but there is more to it.
"Are there other elements of the way that we bid this that are forcing the contractors to see risk and price that risk at a higher level. They basically build in their own contingency if they think there is a problem," said Grabauskas.
Speaking of contingency funds, Hart has a $563 million cushion left, which could be reduced to $453 million if the lowest bid is accepted. There are several big contracts still to go out.
"You always want to have more contingency at point in the project just because we are still early relatively in our construction," said Grabauskas.
"The business plan is not viable. The numbers are not accurate," said State Senator Sam Slom, who was one of the rail opponents who sued to stop the project.
Opponents like Sen. Slom aren't surprised saying the total cost is only going to go up.
"This is just the beginning. We have nine stations. We have more stations, we have the rail, we have other contracts as well and all of them are going to go overbid and its going to cost the taxpayers more money," said Sen. Slom. "There are so many problems because this was an ill thought out project, there were other alternatives, we chose not to take them."
There isn't too much time to dissect the contracts. The next bid for four more transit stations will go out the end of this year along with the contract to build the second ten miles of the elevated track.