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Head of Honolulu transportation services on ending rail short of Ala Moana

A segment of the Honolulu rail in October 2021.
Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit
A segment of the Honolulu rail in October 2021.

A Honolulu transportation official says the city has a robust public transit plan for riders getting off the rail at the proposed final stop at the Civic Center Station near Kakaʻako.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced in his State of the City speech Tuesday a plan to pause rail two stops short of Ala Moana Shopping Center. Instead, it would end at Halekauwila and South streets, which would serve a key area of government workers in the Hawaiʻi State Capitol district.

The plan still needs to be approved by the board of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, the City Council and the Federal Transit Administration.

City Transportation Services Director and HART Board Member Roger Morton says they’ve tested and modeled the plan, which calls for buses to continue service to major destinations in the area.

"We will plan on having semi-express service to University of Hawaiʻi. We plan on having service to Waikīkī through both Ala Moana and through Kalakaua, and we have a robust plan that will get people to Ala Moana, to the Keʻeaumoku area, where we're seeing a lot of development there as well — and through Kaka’ako," he said. "So we're confident that we're going to have a robust and workable transit system."

Morton says the HART Board is still committed to going all the way to Ala Moana when more money is available.

He adds that stopping the rail at Civic Center shouldn’t affect any high rises or other transit-oriented development planned for the Ala Moana-Keʻeaumoku area.

This interview aired on The Conversation on March 16, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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