HI rail project costs climb to $9.5B — $3B over initial estimates

Dive Brief:

  • In its first official update to the Federal Transit Administration since 2012, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) officials have informed the agency that costs for the Honolulu Rail Transit Project are now at an estimated $9.5 billion, according to KHON 2 News. 
  • The new figure is a $1 billion increase from the projections HART provided over the summer and a $2 billion increase since the spring. Rail officials said the latest hike comes from previously omitted interest costs.
  • HART has only $6.8 billion in secured funding for the rail, so the agency now faces a $2.8 billion hole in its financing plan. It must now wait to find out whether it can secure a tax extension and other government funding options.

Dive Insight:

Project costs were valued at $6.5 billion in April when former HART chairman Dan Horner, as well as executive director Dan Grabauskas, resigned after an internal investigation revealed alleged financial mismanagement of the rail’s funds and incomplete operation and maintenance records. Even at $6.5 billion, the project was the most expensive public works project in state history.

Another U.S. rail project under scrutiny for cost overruns, as well as delays, is the California bullet train, which is intended to eventually connect Los Angeles to San Francisco. The California High Speed Rail Authority has issued general contractor Tutor Perini about $64 million in change orders because of agency delays, and projected total costs are now almost twice the original budget of $33 billion. In order to get at least some segment of the rail up and running as quickly as possible, officials switched the inaugural route from southern California to northern California, presumably to avoid the costs of having to cut through a mountain range north of Los Angeles.

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Filed Under: Infrastructure
Top image credit: Flickr; Roxanne Ready