Rail construction continues after permit approvalUPDATED 9:15 PM HST Sep 11, 2013Video Transcript
Hawaii's biggest public works project EVER is coming off moth balls next week. KITV4's Andrew Pereira joins us now with the decision that cleared the way. Andrew the City Council expedited some approvals today? Yeah that's right Yunji and Paula... it was an effort to save money on delay claims. But not all council members are convinced those savings will actually occur. After more than a year of sitting idle, rail supporters are anxious to once again hear the sounds of heavy machinery. MARY JEAN CASTILLO: "FOR ME, MY NEIGHBORS AND TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE LIVING IN LEEWARD AND WEST OAHU WHO MUST TRAVEL THIS HIGHWAY ON A DAILY BASIS, THE RAIL PROJECT CANNOT COME SOON ENOUGH." For rail opponents, Council approval of a shoreline permit as well as an agreement between the city and state Wednesday... was premature. WILLY HOLLY: "GIVE YOUSELF TIME BECAUSE THIS REALLY IS IMPORTANT. YOU DON'T WANT TO... WELL, AND THE PUBLIC DOESN'T WANT YOU TO MAKE A MISTAKE AGAIN." So far the rail project has racked up more than $35 million in delay claims, and the transit authority is keenly aware that time is money. DAN GRABAUSKAS: "EVERY WORK DAY THAT PASSES, WE'RE ABOUT $200,000 IN TERMS OF LOSES TO THIS PROJECT SITTING IDLE." But with a federal court case hanging over the $5.3 billion project, not all council members are convinced savings will actually materialize. JOEY MANAHAN: "WITHOUT A REAL COST ANALYSIS, AND FOR ME I THINK THIS IS KIND OF LIKE A ROLL OF THE DICE. I MEAN IT'S KIND OF CRAP SHOOT AS FAR AS SAVING MONEY." HART Executive Director Dan Grabauskas remains confident federal courts will rule in the city's favor. That means Monday morning more than 150 Kiewit workers will be back on the job. 16 rail columns already been built in East Kapolei will grow to 422 as construction reaches Aloha Stadium. DAN GRABAUSKAS: "WHERE WE'VE ALREADY AWARDED THE CONTRACTS TO KIEWIT FOR EAST KAPOLEI TO ALOHA STADIUM, WE'LL BE UNDERWAY THROUGHOUT THAT ENTIRE CORRIDOR." Still, uncertainty remains. The rail project's August monthly report shows a 90 percent chance of additional costs... since final engineering has NOT been completed for the city center. DAN GRABAUSKAS: "IT'S NOT PREDICTIVE, IT'S JUST INDICATIVE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SOMETHING HAPPENING. AND SO WE JUST NEED TO REALLY BE ON TOP OF IT." The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to issue a ruling on whether the city adequately studied alternatives to rail. Meanwhile, the transit authority continues to comply with a federal judge's order... to further study the impacts rail will have on sensitive areas in the city center. Back to you.