Honolulu’s $5.2 billion rail project is coming together piece by piece.
With city lawmakers and Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell on hand, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation officials showed off the latest phase of the project.
“Just last September we were out here. We had 16 columns and a couple of foundations poured. We now have almost 120 foundations, almost 100 columns and now they’re connecting to the columns,” Caldwell said.
Each span will take two and a half days to complete. Currently there is one finished span with two others that are nearing completion.
“Everyone keeps asking, ‘When are you going to start the guideway?’ and now we can say we’ve started the guideway portion on which the trains will travel,” said Dan Grabauskas, HART CEO.
Now that the first span has been built, crews will continue working in both directions “all the way to the ‘croc stop’ as I like to call it, heading into Aloha Stadium. We’re not going to let anything get in our way,” said Caldwell.
The mayor even touched upon where he’d like to see the project head down the road.
“I am very interested in continuing building the line up to UH-Manoa as you hear the chair of HART say and then going more toward Waianae,” he said.
One third of the project, or $1.55 billion, comes from federal money through a full funding grant agreement. The other two-thirds comes from the half-percent increase in the excise tax.
“This project is financially viable because of these two funding sources that were put in place before the project even started,” said Caldwell.
Honolulu City Council member Kymberly Pine says the rail project represents hope for those living in West Oahu.
“You’re going to see so many improvements because people will have more time to give back to the community, to their families as well as themselves,” she said.