HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In a letter sent to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, the Federal Transit Administration said it's giving the city a four-month extension to secure more funding for the cash-strapped Honolulu rail project.
HART issued the following statement:
Rail officials now have until April 30 to submit a new recovery plan to build the entire 20-mile route. The city actually asked for a July deadline to get legislative support for more money.
Rail officials, with the support of the City Council and Caldwell, are asking state lawmakers to extend the general excise tax again, but the bills won't be finalized by the end of April, leaving the extension up in the air before the revised plan is sent back to the FTA.
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, former chair of the rail board overseeing the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, said in a statement she's confident that the FTA is committed to the city and the project.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz also said he was hopeful for the future of rail.
City Council Chairman Ernie Martin had a different take, though. He called the FTA's letter "unacceptable," saying the feds want Honolulu to build the rail using the outdated $6.8 billion estimate.
The project is now expected to cost at least $8.2 billion and that could rise to $9.5 billion.