City council chairman calls for ‘intensive review’ of rail’s massive funding gap

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Just months after a scathing city audit called the financial plan for Honolulu’s rail project “outdated and unreliable,” we’ve learned the city auditor plans to follow up to see what changes, if any, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has made.

This time around, Honolulu City Council chairman Ernie Martin says he may take extra steps to get answers on what’s going on with the project.

In a statement, Martin said, “It is clear to me that an even more intensive review is in order, possibly commissioning subpoena powers if necessary. There are still many unanswered questions as to how we arrived at HART’s current funding gap and a follow-up audit must be rigorous enough to provide us with that information.”

Federal officials put the total cost for the entire 20-mile project at anywhere between $8 billion and $11 billion which, even on the low end, leaves the project a billion dollars short.

We reached out to HART for comment but have yet to hear back.

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