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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lingle prepares to launch study of Honolulu rail project

Advertiser Staff

The state of Department of Transportation today started the search for a consultant to conduct an analysis of the cost and revenues estimates for Honolulu’s planned elevated commuter rail.

The scope of work includes an analysis and evaluation of the capital costs to build the project as well as the operating and maintenance cost projections prepared by the city.
The work also will include an analysis of the accuracy of the projected tax revenue sources needed to fund what will be the state’s most expensive public works project ever.
“We have an obligation to the residents of this state to perform an objective assessment of this project since Hawaiçi taxpayers, not the federal government, will bear the costs,” said Gov. Linda Lingle in a news release. “Claiming that this project will create jobs does not relieve us of our duty to make sure we can afford it over the long term.”
Mayor Mufi Hannemann questioned why Lingle is going through with her analysis when the Federal Transit Administration is examining the project's finances.
"If she's going to go through this silly exercise, all I say to her is, `Do it quickly, and make sure you explain to the legislators and the public how much it's going to cost and where that money is going to come from,'" the mayor said tonight at a rally for his potential campaign for governor.
Lingle has said her decision to have the city's forecasts analyzed was prompted in part by lower-than-anticipated tax revenues, which are needed to pay the city's portion of the project's costs.
The city had planned to break ground on the $5.3 billion 20-mile East Kapolei to Ala Moana rail in December. However, construction had been indefinitely delayed by a federal review of environmental impacts as well as the train’s impact on runway safety zones at the Honolulu International Airport.
Firms seeking the contract must submit their qualifications by an April 6 deadline. Interested firms will need to submit documentation on their expertise, prior work products, and their ability to complete the work within three months of the issuance of the final financial plan for the project.