Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Honolulu rail project accepted for final design phase

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The Federal Transit Administration has accepted the Honolulu rail transit project into Final Design, the final phase of the project's development before executing a Full Funding Grant Agreement with the FTA.

In a letter from FTA Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation was advised of the favorable decision in writing.

"This is great news for Honolulu," Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle said. "We are grateful to Senator Inouye and to our congressional delegation for their strong support. Entering into final design also allows us to begin the process of working toward our full-funding grant agreement with FTA, which solidifies the $1.55 billion in federal funds we expect to receive. We remain on track to complete that process next fall."

The Honolulu rail transit project's entry into final design demonstrates the FTA's continued acknowledgement that the project is progressing through the various FTA requirements toward a federal contribution of $1.55 billion. The Honolulu project's financial plan will be subject to an even more intensive review before FTA enters into an FFGA with HART.

"This approval serves as further confirmation that required steps have been properly followed and that the FTA believes this project should continue to move forward," HART Board Chairwoman Carrie Okinaga said. "It also means that the FTA has approved our updated financial plan and that the project remains on sound financial footing, which is good news for taxpayers. The HART board will continue to do its part to ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget."

The Fiscal Year 2012 Transportation Appropriations measure includes a total of $510 million for those transit New Starts projects that will enter into an FFGA in calendar year 2012. When Honolulu enters into an FFGA with the FTA, it will become eligible for a portion of these funds in the year ahead.

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