Report has rail cost up $117M


POSTED: Friday, July 24, 2009

The city's more than $5 billion rail transit project is sufficiently developed in scope, schedule and budget and should proceed to the next step, according to a federal report Mayor Mufi Hannemann released yesterday.

Hannemann said the report proves the project is fiscally sound and on track to break ground by the end of this year.

The report by Jacobs Engineering Group, a Dallas-based consulting firm, puts the cost of the 20-mile rail route from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center at $5.29 billion.

That figure is about $117 million more than the administration's most recent cost estimate of $5.17 billion derived in the past year. But Hannemann notes the figure is less than the administration's original estimate of $5.43 billion.

“;We're still within the range of what we're trying to aim for,”; Hannemann said. “;It's still a lot less than what we initially predicted.

“;There will still be some give and take on the numbers—it may still shift here and there—but the big picture is there is no way this project is way over budget.”;

;[Preview]  Mayor Rail Transit Project Forecast

An independent report says the actual cost of the city's rail transit project will be about 100-million dollars higher than the city's current estimate.

Watch ]


Jacobs was hired by the Federal Transit Administration to review the project as the city seeks $1 billion in federal money for the development.


The next phase for the project would be preliminary engineering.

The report estimates the 20-mile route will be fully operational by August 2019, about five months later than Hannemann projected.

A longtime rail critic, however, was unconvinced that the project would move along as planned.

“;It's the risk they're not discussing,”; said rail opponent Cliff Slater.

Slater said other rail systems have started out with similar projections but wound up with cost overruns between 40 percent and 110 percent.

Slater also noted that the Jacobs report defined the project as a “;heavy rail”; system as opposed to a “;light rail”; touted by the city.

Hannemann said he recognizes the risks of potential lawsuits and other factors that could delay the project, but argued the Jacobs report confirms that the city's project is sound.

“;There's so many 'what ifs' out there,”; he said. “;For us to sort of sort through all of that and have a Plan B, C, D, E, to me, would be futile.

“;I think what we're showing here today is that based on what they (FTA) have before them, based on transportation experts they have hired, they're saying, 'Go for it.'”;