Mayor: Bids for City Center leg of rail project way ‘out of the ballpark’

Rail authority plans to continue P3 search despite mayor's objections

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Thursday the bids for the final and most expensive leg of the rail project came in too high.

“Our chief procurement officer and our evaluation committee made the decision that it was so far out of the ballpark there is not potential for negotiations so that another approach had to be taken,” Caldwell said, during a board meeting for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

Last week, the city pulled out of the procurement negotiations with private development groups vying for the contract to build the final four-mile City Center segment of the rail and operate the system for 30 years.

Caldwell also cited the year-long delay in awarding the private-public partnership, or P3, contract.

“There’s no magic to this. It’s not like you’re sending a space ship to Mars," he said.

HART’s CEO Andrew Robbins said three groups of companies submitted bids and that the rail authority was in the process of evaluating them before the city pulled out.

The work is budgeted at $1.4 billion but one of the developers described it as a $2 billion dollar project.

Robbins said the initial bids are just starting points and that negotiations begin from there. He said the rail authority is proceeding.

“If this administration is not comfortable, I get it. And let’s work with the next administration and find the best path forward," he said.

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