Federal report estimates rail cost at $8.3 billion with completion in 2026

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The Federal Transit Administration is estimating Honolulu’s rail project will cost more and take longer to build.

The administration requires what’s called a “risk refresh” every couple of years for the project.

The latest report, prepared by Project Management Oversight Consultant (PMOC) Jacobs Engineering, shows a cost estimate of $8.3 billion with a completion date of September 2026.

According to the report: 

“The cost risk assessment recognized general reductions in risk due to advancement of construction and design. However, concerns that relate to historically experienced issues of management capability and capacity, market conditions, and construction complexities—especially as the project proceeds toward downtown Honolulu—are expected to continue and are factored into the risk analysis.

During the February 2018 risk workshop, it became clear that HART had begun to advance it’s [sic] cost and risk tracking procedures to become more aware of the cost implications and to begin to develop a more robust system to respond to and resolve known risks. In the prior major FTA/PMOC risk review, these measures were severely lacking. These improved efforts are a positive development toward project cost-risk protection. The project has experienced and is expected to experience significant challenges as it moves toward the next phase of completion. Continuation of integration of visible and independent risk management into the project is an important safeguard.”

In comparison, HART’s latest cost estimate is nearly $8.2 billion with a completion date of December 2025.

Andrew Robbins, HART executive director and CEO, was not available to speak on camera Monday, but issued a written statement that said:

“The fact that the estimate of the PMOC, using a totally unique and independent top-down analysis of the project, is only 1.6% above HART’s current project cost estimate, is a strong endorsement for the risk management and cost control measures HART has put in place over the past two years. No longer is there talk of runaway costs and overruns.”

Click here to view the full report.

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