HART: Canceling public-private partnership could cause 18 months of rail delays

HART says canceling P3 process could cause up to 18 months of delays

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Authority of Rapid Transportation said delays of up to 18 months should be expected if its current plans to use a private-public partnership are scrapped.

In a presentation planned for an upcoming HART board meeting, the rail authority looked at the impact of other choices, including rebidding the contract for the final leg of the project.

Rail supporters are upset.

“Not doing (public-private partnership) is going to cost more going forward because you have delays ... It’s already been delayed how many times," said state Sen. Lorraine Inouye, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

The four-mile segment between Middle Street and Ala Moana Center is the most expensive and most complicated part of the rail project.

That’s why the rail authority sought bids from private developers to build the rest of the guideway and stations and to operate the system for 30 years.

A contract for a private-public partnership — or P3 — was supposed to be awarded last year but it’s been pushed back several times.

It’s budgeted at $1.4 billion but one of the builders described it as a $2 billion dollar project.

While the P3 process has not been dropped yet, lawmakers are worried that there’s pressure to stop it.

“The board has already approved that we look at the P3 concept,” said Inouye. “Why are we stalling it now. And I think it’s ridiculous.”

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