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Transit Center gets rolling


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POSTED: Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Kalihi yesterday for a new bus facility.

The city will relocate TheBus headquarters to the new $8.2 million Middle Street Transit Center at Middle Street and Kamehameha Highway. If all goes as planned, the bus facility is slated to be completed in October 2010.

The new bus facility will be one component for the Middle Street Intermodal Center. A pedestrian bridge will be built to connect the center to the adjacent rail transit line. A 1,000-stall parking structure to cost an estimated $50 million will also be part of the intermodal center.

During the ceremony, Wayne Yoshioka, director of the city Department of Transportation Services, said the Middle Street Transit Center will be a “;state-of-the-art facility”; to include bays for staging buses, electronic informational boards to display bus schedules, a customer service center, two restrooms, a utility building and a security office where the site will be monitored at all times.

Based on current service figures, the Middle Street Transit Center would serve nine major bus routes. It would also connect to six bus routes that travel on Kamehameha Highway. More bus routes will likely be added once the project is completed, said Roger Morton, president and general manger of Oahu Transit Services, the company that operates TheBus.

The city will continue to use the existing bus center as parking space.

The Middle Street Transit Center is estimated to create 5,000 construction jobs over the course of the project.

“;This is a beneficial project that will help Hawaii, help Honolulu,”; Yoshioka said. “;It's certainly a stimulus that we would need for the economy right now.”;

At the ceremony, Mayor Mufi Hannemann noted that for fiscal year 2009, the tax revenues for the rail transit project increased to $12 million, a figure that was more than the city expected. Hannemann projected an additional $200 million in tax revenues for the rail transit through fiscal year 2023 if the current trend continues along with the increase in state tax revenues projected by the Council on Revenues.