Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Federal transit officials are in Honolulu for rail project risk analysis amid invasion of Ukraine

honolulu rail in progress pearl harbor
Robert ʻAukai Reynolds
City & County of Honolulu; Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation
Crews prepare the truss near Pearl Harbor station

Officials from the Federal Transit Administration are in Honolulu this week to do some risk analysis for the latest version of the city’s rail project.

Separately, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation CEO Lori Kahikina told HPR that a team of specialized welders is also in town, working on the problems with the tracks and wheels of the system.

She says those coordination issues should be fixed by the end of April.

As for the FTA workers, Kahikina says they are helping to calculate an analysis called a “risk refresh” — taking into account the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“FTA and their project manager and oversight consultant are here this week, physically here in Honolulu, to help us with their risk refresh. HART already did its own risk refresh," Kahikina said.

"You make a list of all the risks that you’re possibly going to encounter for the rest of the project, and so they’re coming in, doing their own analysis to make sure we haven’t missed anything. So at that point, that’s where the war is going to be taken into account. And we’re really hoping that the effects of that are — spike now — but quickly goes back to the lower numbers," she said.

HART’s revised “recovery plan” is due to be turned in to the FTA by June 30.

The original plan calls for 20 miles of rail, 21 stations, and 20 four-car trains traveling from East Kapolei through downtown Honolulu to Ala Moana Center.

"In submitting our recovery plan to the FTA, we will propose that we amend the FFGA to the following scope: 18.75 miles or 19 stations. Build it from East Kapolei through downtown, to the Civic Center Station — which is approximately Halekauwila and South Street — which is 1.25 miles and two stations short of Ala Moana Center," Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said in his State of the County speech earlier this month.

Before the plan is submitted, it must be approved by the HART board, as well as the Honolulu City Council.

"I can't stress enough we're going to get to Ala Moana. We just have to find different means of funding," Kahikina told HPR's The Conversation. "Whether it's with local funds, or with all of the Biden infrastructure bills — there's other opportunities for federal funding not with FTA."

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
Related Stories