Rail swells to $10B to build and finance, gap now $1.2B as tax sinks

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — The estimated cost of rail has jumped once again, bringing the construction and interest tab to the $10 billion threshold. The mayor tells us it will probably grow more, and the shortfall to pay for it all now tops more than $1.2 billion.

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Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) revealed the latest sticker shock on rail cost at a rail authority Project Oversight Committee board meeting on Oct. 15. The “estimate at completion cost” is now $832 million more, with the construction cost alone up to $9.13 billion.

Interest on borrowing and bonds stood at $840 million in the last estimate, likely to climb more as the build-out is delayed and the base cost goes up. But even conservatively using the $840 million figure, it is essentially now a $10 billion train, not counting operating costs.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the tab is likely to jump even more, calling HART’s numbers unreliable.

“As mayor I’m not surprised,” Caldwell told KHON2. “Having been here now for 8 years every estimate provided by HART has actually gone up, not down. We know with the utility relocation being delayed one to four years, and the …

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