After HART vote, talks for rail public-private partnership will continue (for now)

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Updated: Oct. 27, 2020 at 5:31 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s full-court press to stop a proposed public-private partnership for Oahu’s troubled rail project has fallen short ― for now.

A large majority of the rail board sided with the mayor’s call to cancel talks with private developers for the final, four-mile leg of the project. But the vote was one short of passing.

Caldwell said the rail authority needs to finalize a contract before the end of the year or it could lose federal funding. “We’re in jeopardy of losing $250 million," he said.

The dispute began last month when the administration pulled out of the procurement negotiations for the so-called P3 plan. But Andrew Robbins, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s CEO, continued negotiations with the bidders. His supporters said that’s the least painful option.

“All of the concerns that have been expressed regarding the P3 ― and whether we move forward or not ― are actually not only going to exist ... but they more likely will be exacerbated if we cancel the P3,” said HART board member Kika Bukoski, who voted to continue with the plan.

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