Rail Officials Say Project Could Have $1B Shortfall

The price tag grows as a vital railway project faces another year of delays due to legal challenges and contracting.

📅   Fri September 18, 2015 - West Edition
CEG


Honolulu rail officials say the mass transit project could face a more than $1 billion shortfall if construction costs continue to rise.
Honolulu rail officials say the mass transit project could face a more than $1 billion shortfall if construction costs continue to rise.

HONOLULU (AP) - Honolulu rail officials say the mass transit project could face a more than $1 billion shortfall if construction costs continue to rise.

In a letter to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and City Council Chair Ernie Martin, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation chair Don Horner said as the price tag for the project grows, it is also facing another year of delays due to legal challenges and contracting, Hawaii News Now reports (http://bit.ly/1UUneBb).

”We do know the final numbers until actual bids are received. However, if we use a range that includes a 40 percent escalation that would add approximately $200 million to the overall project’s cost,’ Horner said.

Construction costs are currently running 30 percent above estimates, adding about $610 million in extra building costs. The project is facing another $310 million shortfall because excise tax collections have been lower than expected and money has been removed from its budget to pay for the city’s bus costs.

Caldwell said the new complications are unacceptable and that he plans to send a letter to HART detailing steps to contain building costs and avoid delays.

A five-year excise tax extension is awaiting council approval. Caldwell said that would cover possible cost overruns.

”I do not want to accept an increase cost of $200 million, projected,’ he said. ”We need to work hard to not have that happen. And I don’t want to see a slippage to 2021.’