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FTA approves Honolulu's request to start preliminary engineering for light-rail line

Earlier this week, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) announced the Federal Transit Administration approved the city of Honolulu’s application to begin preliminary engineering for the Honolulu Rail Transit light-rail project through the New Starts funding program.

The project calls for constructing a 20-mile elevated line to connect West Oahu with downtown Honolulu and Ala Moana. The line eventually will be extended to Honolulu International Airport, Waikiki, the University of Hawaii-Manoa and Kalaeloa.

In March, the city accepted design/build bids for the 6.5-mile first segment of the elevated guideway between East Kapolei and Pearl Highlands. Estimated to cost between $550 million and $600 million, the project includes track and guideway viaduct construction, and surface restoration. The city plans to award a contract this fall and start construction by year’s end.

Now, the city will begin to refine the engineering aspects of the entire project, including a more precise construction schedule and project management plan, and updated financial plan. The city also will complete the environmental review process.

The project maintains eligibility for about $1.5 billion in federal New Starts funding. The city already has obtained $39 million in federal funds, including $4 million in stimulus dollars. In addition, Congress is working to provide an additional $30 million appropriation for fiscal-year 2010, according to the city.

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More News from 10/14/2009