Honolulu leaders aim to curb cost overruns, promote benefits of city’s first passenger-rail system
Honolulu is home to 350,000 residents — a small sum compared to the likes of New York City or Los Angeles, where millions of people live. Even so, the Hawaiian city experiences some of the worst traffic congestion in the United States. In a 2014 ranking of congestion levels across the country by GPS-maker TomTom, Honolulu came in third, surpassing New York City, Chicago and many other much larger cities.
To reduce gridlock, city leaders are overseeing a plan to build a 20-mile elevated rail system. The largest public works project in Hawaii’s history, the rail line will run from Kapolei in the west to the Ala Moana shopping center just east of Honolulu’s downtown area, with a stop at the Honolulu International Airport.
Voters approved the plan in 2008, and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) was formed in mid-2011 to shepherd the project.
Cost increases, delays and local opposition have plagued the more than $6 billion project since ground broke in 2011, but HART executives are making concentrated efforts to rein in expenses. They’re also doing what they can to promote the line’s benefits and mitigate negative impacts of construction.
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