Study: Private developers can't cover $2B funding shortfall for rail

Updated: Mar. 20, 2017 at 4:43 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new study says any more delays to Honolulu's rail project would cost about $114 million a year.

And government partnerships with private developers won't be enough to close the $2 billion funding gap the work.

Those are the conclusions of a study released Monday by the Ulupono Initiative, a pro-rail, environmental investment firm.

The report found even if developers paid large fees to build along the rail line, project will still need public funding. To that end, state lawmakers are considering a permanent extension of the rail surcharge. But some want more time to think about it.

"You can't defer the decision on public funding," Jill Jamieson, managing director for Jones Lang LaSalle, which conducted the analysis.

"A decision needs to be made quickly and expeditiously in order to save the taxpayers unnecessary funding. There is a huge cost associated with that of about $114 million a year.

Harrison Rue, the city's community building and transit-oriented development administrator, said the city is reviewing the study.

"We are pleased to see that our assumptions about it needs public funding and that the TOD development is not going to be able to pay for the rail because it needs a lot of infrastructure on its own," Rue said. "We're glad to see that they independently found that to be true."

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