The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation will sign a full funding grant agreement with the Federal Transit Administration to provide $1,550,000,000 for the Oahu rail project, according to a Congressional notification sent to the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Chairman Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Daniel K. Akaka, U.S. Representative Mazie K. Hirono and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa announced on Monday.
By law, the FTA is required to notify Congress 30 days before it signs a full funding grant agreement. Immediately after signing the agreement, HART will receive $200 million in funding from fiscal year 2012.
The 20-mile rail line from Kapolei to Ala Moana Center is expected to cost $5.5 billion.
"This is an important step toward providing federal funding for the Honolulu Rail Transit project. We have discussed and debated the merits of a rail line on the island of Oahu for the majority of my time in the Congress and I would like to thank Peter Rogoff and the Federal Transit Administration, President Obama, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for partnering with the City and County of Honolulu to build a system that will alleviate traffic congestion, lessen our dependence on imported fossil fuels and provide our residents, in particular those living in West Oahu, with a much needed alternative to driving," said Sen. Inouye. "The Full Funding Grant agreement will provide$1.55 billion for the project and I will continue to work in a bipartisan fashion with my colleagues in the Congress to ensure we appropriate what is needed to complete this project in an efficient and timely manner. The path to this agreement with the federal government has not been easy, but like the construction of the H-3 Freeway for Windward Oahu residents, and significant improvements to Kalanianaole Highway for East Honolulu, the rail transit project will bring welcome relief to West Oahu residents who spend too much time stuck in traffic."
"I am so pleased that FTA and the city will be able to finalize the Full Funding Grant Agreement for the Honolulu rail project before my retirement. Administrator Rogoff’s letter shows that federal government is confident the rail project is financially sound and has a realistic construction schedule. By providing a new option for Oahu commuters to avoid traffic congestion, rail will save families time and money and will reduce pollution in the air we breathe. I look forward to the rail project’s completion," said Sen. Akaka.
"Today's announcement is welcome news that moves Honolulu another step closer to securing the full $1.55 billion that has been budgeted for the Rail project. This project will provide much-needed transportation options through one of the most gridlocked sections of Oahu, improving the quality of life for many Hawaii families while providing thousands of jobs. To date, this project has enjoyed strong, bipartisan support in Congress, and I expect to see this agreement reviewed and approved before the end of this year," said Congresswoman Hirono, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
"I am glad we have achieved another important milestone in the progress of the Honolulu rail project. It is an investment in improving the quality of life in our state, preserving our natural environment, and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. While it appears that there may still be matters to be finalized on the project, the fact that we continue to make progress is a testament to those in Hawaii who have maintained their commitment to addressing Honolulu's needs, as well as those in Washington--particularly Senator Inouye--who have kept federal officials' focus on the importance of rail to Honolulu. I will continue to work with Senator Inouye and the rest of Hawaii's Congressional delegation to help ensure that Hawaii can benefit fully from these funds," said Congresswoman Hanabusa.