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Monday, July 01, 2013    

Congressional committees appropriate $250 million for Honolulu transit-rail project

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation's (HART) transit-rail project received the single-largest 2014 budget appropriation of any New Starts transit program in the nation, HART officials announced on Friday.

The U.S. House and Senate appropriations committees approved an additional $250 million for the project as part of the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) New Starts program, HART Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Dan Grabauskas said in a prepared statement.

The $250 million represents the full amount included for the project in President Barack Obama's federal budget.

"This reflects the continued commitment of our federal partners and the strong support of Hawaii's congressional delegation," Grabauskas said.

HART signed a $1.55 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement with the FTA in December 2012 for the project. When completed, Honolulu's automated electric-powered transit-rail system will operate from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center, and include 21 stations. The first section, from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium, is slated to begin operating in 2015; the second portion extending to Middle Street, in 2017; and the full system to Ala Moana Center, in 2019.

Meanwhile, HART's board elected Ivan Lui-Kwan as its new chairman, effective today. Prior to the vote, he was serving as vice chairman and chairman of the board's government affairs, audit and legal matters committee.

Lui-Kwan is an attorney and director with Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher.

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