HART approves draft recovery plan for troubled transit project but not without pushback

But the proposal continues to get push back from Central and Leeward Oahu residents who feel they're being left out.
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 5:55 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s board Friday approved its draft recovery plan in an effort to secure $744 million in federal funding for the project.

But the proposal is getting pushback from Central Oahu residents who say they’re being left out.

“There was concern from neighborhood board members who felt like there was a broken promise here,” said Danielle Bass, chair of the Mililani Waipio Neighborhood Board.

“People are frustrated.”

HART and the city say they only have enough money to build to the Civic Center station and are calling for the elimination of the last two stations and the final 1-and-1/4-mile of the guideway.

The recovery plan also postpones construction of the park and ride at the Pearl Highlands Station ― a move that many H2 commuters oppose.

The 1,600-stall structure will allow residents from Central Oahu and the North Shore to drive to the station and ride the rail into town, cutting traffic congestion on the H1.

But the city and rail officials say the project costs too much ― $330 million or about $200,000 per stall.

“People are questioning that we’ve inflated that amount. But these dollar amounts came from the P3 bidders on a stand alone project. Two different bidders came up with similar costs,” said HART CEO Lori Kahikina.

HART officials also say their studies show not enough people will use it anyway.

“My feeling if we’re going to spend a third of a billion dollars on a parking garage, it might be better to invest that money in an extension to Mililani,” said HART board member Anthony Aalto.

In the end the HART board voted 7-to-1 to approve the recovery plan, which rail officials said will likely be approved by the Federal Transit Administration.

“In just talking to them, we’re a little bit off on the numbers, not too much, maybe a few hundred million dollars,” said Kahikina.

“There’s been no indication that they’re going to withhold the remaining $744 million.”

The plan also needs approval by the City Council.

Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.