In response to stern warning from feds on rail, Caldwell tells council this isn’t the ‘time to play’

At stake is $750 million in federal funds that are being withheld.
GF Default - Overbudget again: Honolulu rail project's price tag grows to $8.3B
GF Default - Overbudget again: Honolulu rail project's price tag grows to $8.3B
Updated: Sep. 25, 2018 at 9:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu’s mayor and members of the City Council said they’re troubled by a warning letter from federal officials over rail funding and will work quickly to address the situation.

On Friday, the Federal Transit Administration sent a stern warning to Honolulu rail authorities, saying the agency is running out of patience with delays in the new financial plan for the beleaguered $8.2 billion project.

It also said $44 million in city funds must be “fully committed towards the project within 60 days.”

At stake if the FTA’s demands aren’t met: $750 million that the feds have been withholding while the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and the city work out an acceptable budget for the remainder of the system.

At a news conference Tuesday, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said this isn’t the time to “play chicken or to delay.”

He urged the City Council to work quickly to address the FTA’s demands.

City Council Chairman Ernie Martin, meanwhile, said the issue wasn’t major and could be easily addressed ― something he pledged to do.

“I think the mayor’s gloom and doom is misstating the facts itself,” he said.

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