HONOLULU (AP) — Mayors of all four Hawaii counties are asking Gov. David Ige to extend the 2017 legislative session to find funding for the troubled Honolulu rail transit project, but Ige says he's not inclined to do so.
The Honolulu Rail Transit Project, which is under construction, is facing a shortfall that could surpass $1.5 billion if a bill passed by the House became law, said Andrew Pereira, spokesman for Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Cost estimates for the rail project have gone from about $5 billion in 2014 to nearly $10 billion, including financing costs.
Without an adequate funding plan, the federal government could withhold future money and could also ask Honolulu to return money already spent. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has already spent nearly $722 million in federal funds on the rail transit project, out of approximately $1.5 billion committed by the federal government, according to report from the authority.
"I'm concerned about what happens in the next day or two with rail," Caldwell said at a City Council meeting Wednesday. "We need to complete the project."