Tuesday, July 23, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Tuesday, October 19, 2021
​More Honolulu Rail Follies
By Selected News Articles @ 3:26 PM :: 932 Views :: Rail

More Honolulu Rail Follies

by Randall O’Toole, The Antiplanner, October 18, 2021

You don’t hear much about Howard Hughes anymore, but he — or, more precisely, a real estate development company named after him — is helping to delay completion of the Honolulu rail line, the $12 billion project we love to ridicule. Hughes is the midst of developing a master-planned community called Ward Village that’s smack in the pathway of the rail line, and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) says it wants two acres for the line.

Hughes is willing to sell the land to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART), but there is a teensy disagreement over the value of the land. HART offered Hughes $13.5 million; Hughes thought it was worth “about” $100 million more. HART is attempting to take the land by eminent domain, leading Hughes to counter sue, asking for $200 million in damages. HART has already approved $23 million to pay its legal fees in the eminent domain suit.

I wonder if HART is trying to pull the same fast one that Denver’s RTD tried, which was to claim that the rail line would increase the value of the remaining property so landowners should be willing (or forced) to sell the land needed for the train for less than market value. Hughes, however, will probably argue that the success of its development makes the remaining land in the development even more valuable.

HART seems to have annoyed lots of people, including its contractors. A few months ago, HART discovered that the wheels on the cars it ordered from Alstrom are too narrow for its tracks, forcing it to slow speeds to 5 miles per hour at switches. Naturally, that called for another consultant report, which was just submitted to HART.

Or so says the consultant. HART claims it never received the report. “Your story is all wrong,” said HART when a reporter asked about the report. “We will provide you the correct information.” The next day, HART told the reporter, “Thank you for the opportunity, but HART will not be responding.” Even later, HART said the report it received was a draft and it won’t release it until the final comes out.

The report is fairly important because, if the consultant says the trains will have to slow at all switches, HART will have to replace all of those tracks, which would delay the project by another year. The alternative is replacing all of the wheels on the trains, but that would increase the weight of the trains by more than the elevated lines could support.

Meanwhile, the cost of the rail project has gone up another $34 million thanks to unanticipated utility relocation costs. HART says the higher costs were based on new safety standards, but the Hawaiian Electric Company says it was due to inept work by HART and its contractors. What does $34 million matter anyway, when it is part of a $12 billion project?


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute


Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii


Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii


National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii


Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii