Rail's initial opening delayed 1 year as Hart cancels station contract bids

Rail's initial opening delayed 1 year as Hart cancels station contract bids

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (Hart) leadership has always said delays cost money, but this time they hope it saves money.

The train's first 10 miles will be opened a year later than originally expected and Hart leadership hopes that delay will save money.

The delay is because the bids to build the first nine rail stations came in significantly higher than expected. The lowest bid was $110 million higher than projections. Hart admits its pricing was wrong and they need to be right. Today Hart ccanceledthe bids. Now instead of having one big contract to build nine transit stations they'll have three separate contracts to build three stations at a time.

Also instead of forcing construction companies to have the work done by 2017 they'll push back the opening date to 2018 in hopes of eliminating the risk and time crunch on contractors.

"I think the expectation in the public is we do everything within our power to drive down costs and if that means admitting that the packaging of our station groups didn't get us that then let's try something different. We have time to do that and still meet our ultimate deadline," said Dan Grabauskas, Hart CEO. "That first 10 miles was really not going to be as impactful and helpful to folks. It's really the full 20 miles. If we need to push it off to 2018 to save $20 to 30 million I think that's the right thing to do."

The entire 20 mile route is still expected to be open by 2019.

Hart will also look at what it calls "value engineering" meaning change some materials at transit stations that may lower costs. It will also ease restrictions on contractors. Instead of telling them exactly how to build they will give them more flexibility.

The three companies that did bid could protest, but Hart is hoping they will understand and realize there is a lot of work to go around.

There is also no guarantee rebidding will save any money, but Grabauskas feels it is worth taking the risk.

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