HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said the city is switching gears on plans for the Honolulu rail transit system.
Blanigiardi said amending the original plan, which requires federal approval, cuts the route short but it could get portions of the rail operating as early as the end of this year.
Blangiardi announced the planned final stop of the rail will now sit between Halekauwila and South Streets. It is 1.25 miles shorter than the original plan.
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The mayor said it was necessary to amend the original plan in order to complete it in a timely manner.
“18.75 miles or 19 stations,” Blangiardi said. “Build it from east Kapolei, through downtown, to the civic center station which is approximately Halekauwila and South Streets.”
That is two stations short of the original plan of 21 rail stations, and a mile and a quarter away from the original stopping point at Ala Moana Center.
Blangiardi said the change is necessary for federal approval and funds to be released to the project.
Blangiardi said, “Strategy receiving the entire remaining balance of $744 million dollars in FTA funds, funds essential to delivering a functional rail system.”
Honolulu Chair Tommy Waters, through a statement said, “This Council has collaboratively worked with the City Administration on the rail project and we look forward to reviewing the Recovery Plan the Mayor talked about today. We will give it the careful consideration it deserves when it is shared with us.”
Councilmember Calvin Say who represents Kakaako and Ala Moana said transit-oriented developments where the rail will no longer reach, should be patient.
Say said, “I truly believe that those particular areas that we call the transit-oriented development areas will come about, but it will take time.”
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Blangiardi said the portion of the rail from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium could be operating by the end of 2022, and reach the Civic Center in seven years.