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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Court rulings clear way for Honolulu rail project

In separate decisions, two federal courts recently ruled that the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) complied with applicable federal laws for its $5 billion transit-rail project, clearing the way for the project to move forward.

In response to a legal challenge to the project, the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Oahu's elevated rail project complies with environmental, historic preservation and other laws, while a U.S. District Court determined in a separate ruling that the project properly considered and rejected a route involving an underground tunnel as an alternative to the selected route that ends at Ala Moana Center, HART officials said in an email newsletter.

Circuit Court Judge A. Wallace Tashima also lifted an order blocking construction and most property acquisition activity in the project's City Center section. The 20-mile passenger-rail line is designed to run from Kapolei to Ala Moana Center.

"These rulings reaffirm that we properly complied with the environmental process and studied all prudent alternatives," said HART Chief Executive Officer Dan Grabauskas. "These rulings were essential to keeping the project moving so that we can complete all the necessary work, studies and property acquisitions in the City Center area, [and] will allow us to bring in this project, as promised, on time and on budget."

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More News from 2/24/2014