After 2 years of planning, public-private partnership for rail’s final leg is canceled

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Updated: Nov. 20, 2020 at 4:34 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The public-private partnership being pushed by the rail project’s CEO has been cancelled after two years of what city officials call “a wild goose chase.”

Now the final four miles are going back to the drawing board.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell and HART CEO Andrew Robbins were in a standoff over the so-called P3 process until they met Friday afternoon.

“We came together today for about two hours to figure out how to go forward,” Caldwell said.

“It was a very productive first meeting. We agreed to work together.”

[Read more: Mayor offers up a new timeline for rail’s completion that takes construction into 2033]

Up until Thursday, Robbins continued to argue that P3 was the best way to build the final leg of the $10 billion system and operate it.

But the city has vehemently disagreed, saying bids came way over estimates.

And Caldwell rejected Robbins; arguments again in a formal letter Friday afternoon.

Robbins said the procurement process for P3 cost between $9 and $10 million, but maintained the money was not a waste.

“Much of the information we’ve been gathering form the bidders we will be able to use,” he said.

The meeting Friday at Honolulu Hale was also the first chance for HART and the city to talk about a new bidding process and a construction plan that will satisfy the federal government to make sure it will release $250 million that was to lapse at the end of the year.

The other big difference between HART and the city is their estimates of cost and completion.

The city says it will cost $1 billion more and take five years longer ― to 2033.

This story will be updated.

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