Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Issues With Rail Project Could Delay Interim Service By 'A Year'

Catherine Cruz

There could be another delay to the interim service of Honolulu's rail project. Interim rail authority executive director Lori Kahikina told city council members that during a budget review of the semi-autonomous agency.

Kahikina says there is an issue with the wheels of a car and a section called a frog.

"On the train, when we have to cross rails, for whatever reasons, it's called a frog. It's where the tracks cross," Kahikina said.

"And this crossing, there's five of them on the west side, the wheels that [are] on the cars, it doesn't fit correctly during the crossing."

Kahikina told council members this not only causes a safety issue, but it will also affect rail operations.

"The problem with that is the timing for it to be at each station is about four and a half minutes," she said. "You slow down during these crossings, you're going to impact that time to get to the station."

Kahikina believes HART knew about the issue late last year. But she was made aware of it "a couple of weeks ago." She told council members that she shared this information with Mayor Rick Blangiardi, Managing director Mike Formby, and the Council chair and vice chair.

"I'm thinking the proper way to address this issue is to change all those frogs," Kahikina said. "They're very expensive, and they're built on the mainland, and they need to be manufactured and shipped here. That could delay one year."

Kahikina says she is discussing how to address the issue with Hitachi.

"This is a major issue that needs to be done."

Kahikina also told council members that she canceled a contract for the prolonged utilities relocation project in the city center section of the project. She says she canceled the contract because $100 million of taxpayer money financed the salaries of the firm's management team -- with only 7% of the work being completed and ongoing delays.

More updates about the rail project will be discussed tomorrow morning during HART's board of directors meeting.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
Related Stories