"We would like to thank Senator Inouye and our congressional delegation for their strong support. We also appreciate the FTA's willingness in working collaboratively with us to keep this project moving forward," said Toru Hamayasu, HART's interim executive director and CEO. "This means we will begin to move to the next phase of construction, which includes work on the foundation and pillars for the guideway along the first half of the rail alignment, as well as work on our maintenance and storage facility."
The latest federal approval clears the way for additional construction on the first half of the elevated guideway from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium, as well as work on the project's Maintenance and Storage Facility and three of the project's stations inWaipahu.
Work on the rail system's foundation and columns is scheduled to begin shortly, costing an estimated $184.7 million.
"We are pleased to receive this latest approval from the FTA that allows us to keep the project on track," said Damien Kim, chairman of HART's Project Oversight Committee.
"With revenues coming in higher than projected and costs running below our estimates, the rail project is moving in the right direction. This project will provide a much-needed boost to our local economy and create thousands of jobs. Once completed, rail transit will be the heart of an efficient multimodal transportation system to help deal with our island's increasing traffic congestion in a way that is consistent with Oahu's development plan."
The 20-mile rail transit system from East Kapolei to Ala Moana is expected to open in 2019.