Price tag of pulled-plug P3 bids would have added nearly $1B to HART’s total

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 5:57 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu rail officials on Tuesday unveiled the financial disclosure details of the now-abandoned bids to build the final four-mile leg of the city’s troubled transit project.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation said the offers from the two teams who submitted bids would have increase the project’s construction costs by about $900 million, to roughly $10.8 billion.

But HART leaders also said one of groups ― Imua Transit Honolulu ― would have saved the city and its taxpayers more than $700 million in operating and maintenance costs over the 30-year term of the contract.

“Any savings that you would get on the (operating and maintenance) side would be a benefit to taxpayers,” said Andrew Robbins, HART’s chief executive officer.

Robbins added that additional rounds of negotiations with the bidders could have saved another four to six percent in costs ― potentially between $100 million and $160 million.

The Imua group ― whose partners include Granite Construction and Traylor Bros. Inc., which are building the airport leg of the project ― offered $2.72 billion to build the rail project’s city center guideways and stations and to operate the trains for 30 years.

A rival group, which included local companies Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. and WCIT Architecture, offered $2.77 billion. The city budgeted about $1.7 billion for the final leg.

“Both came in above a billion dollars ... above the affordability limits,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “That was 60 percent higher than anticipated, and to get that price down, it was impossible.”

While the bidders came in over budget for the construction costs, the Imua team was actually under budget for the long-term operating and maintenance of the project.

But the city said the higher construction costs for P3 outweighed those long-term savings benefits.

Rail officials will now have to re-start the bidding process ― which will create up to a year in delays and will likely add even more costs to the project.

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