‘A historic moment’: Ahead of long-awaited opening, HART hands over first segment of rail to city
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - HART officially handed over the first segment of the rail project to the city on Friday, just weeks ahead of the much-anticipated opening day for riders.
The city’s Department of Transportation Services has now taken over rail operations.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi along with other dignitaries and city officials attended the ceremonial handover on Friday afternoon at the Mission Memorial Auditorium.
“This is a great moment for our city ... to be here in front of you today, two and a half years later, knowing full well, that we’re about to begin operations,” said Blangiardi.
“This is definitely a historic moment.”
During Friday’s ceremony, HART CEO Lori Kahikina handed over a symbolic set of keys to the rail system to the city.
“I’m ceremoniously handing it over to Roger, Roger, please, please take care of our baby,” she said.
City DTS Director Roger Morton said the handoff is “more than just a bureaucratic transfer.”
“This really fulfills a 50-year promise to the people of Oahu that we were going to put in a rail system,” he said, adding the rail line “ushers in a new era of balanced transportation.”
It’s a momentous day for the project — one that’s over 12 years in the making from when the project first broke ground in Kapolei.
“The stars all aligned. And we were in the right places at the right time. Yes, we struggled. But that’s always going to happen. But here we are,” said former Congresswoman and HART board Chair Colleen Hanabusa.
The rail is set to welcome its first public passengers three weeks from now on June 30, along the first phase of the line from Kapolei to Halawa.
An HNN crew was invited for an on-board preview on Thursday. They called the ride quick, with the rail making good time over the pau hana commute below.
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