Rail Board Confronts Project’s Deepening Financial, Contract Concerns

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Board members overseeing Honolulu rail fretted Thursday at the latest uncertainties hanging over the state’s largest-ever public works project.
Two weeks after the city missed its latest deadline, there’s still no award of the long-anticipated public-private partnership. Rail’s executive leadership has pursued that deal for the past two years, touting it as an optimal way to complete the project with less risk of added cost to taxpayers.
The so-called “P3” deal was originally slated to be awarded last September.
“I think we need to get ahead of things and not be reactive,” Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Board Vice Chairman Terrence Lee said Thursday during the Finance Committee’s latest budget update.
“I think we need to plan for the possibility that this P3 … is not going to succeed,” he said.
Rail work and testing in Waipahu in 2017. The project continues to face major hurdles to complete its full 20 miles to Ala Moana Center.Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Meanwhile, the elevated project, currently estimated to cost some $9.1 billion, continues to face what HART finance officials estimate will be a $450 million total shortfall in state general excise and hotel tax revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“How are …

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