Honolulu Rail: From $4.6 B to $8.6 B In Eight Years. Now What?
by Panos Prevedouros, Fix Oahu, October 10, 2016
My article "Honolulu Rail: From $4.6 B to $8.6 B In Eight Years. Now What?" with Cliff Slater and Randall Roth was published in New Geography, a national urban issues and news website.
With its official cost now having risen to $8.6 billion and a funding gap of $1.8 billion, both of which are certain to rise, Honolulu’s rail project will run out of money before construction reaches the downtown area, perhaps even before it reaches Middle Street.
The Federal Transit Administration says it will demand a return of all federal money if rail does not reach Ala Moana Center, which is possible only if the state Legislature or Honolulu City Council increase taxes dramatically: An average family of five would have to pay more than $1,000 per year just to complete rail, according to the Tax Foundation of Hawaii. Once completed, the annual cost of operating and maintaining a safe and reliable rail system would require comparable tax payments each year for the lifetime of the rail system.
State and city lawmakers are reluctant to raise taxes so dramatically, but abandoning the project at this late date would make those who had been supporting it look like idiots. They must be asking themselves, “How did we get ourselves into this mess?”
LINK >>> READ THE FULL ARTICLE in NEW GEOGRAPHY.