New day for rail as construction resumesUPDATED 6:45 PM HST Sep 16, 2013Video Transcript
for Paula Akana. It's déj vu for the $5-point-3 billion dollar rail project as construction began again this morning after a 13-month delay. But how long will it last? KITV4's Andrew Pereira has today's top story. Andrew.... What is the city saying about the chances of that other lawsuit stopping the project again? Kenny, Yunji... the city is supremely confident rail won't be stopped again. But rail opponents call that a lot of hubris... that could end up costing taxpayers even more. :26 :39 :49 1:21 A new dawn for Honolulu's rail project... Work resumed Monday morning in East Kapolei with a request for good fortune. "HAWAIIAN PULE" But as the transit authority sets out to build 422 columns for the first half of the 20-mile long elevated track, or an average of three columns per week, obstacles remain. The biggest hurdle... a federal lawsuit hanging over the project. DAN GRABAUSKAS: "WE THINK THAT WE HAVE VERY GOOD ANSWERS AND ARE VERY CONFIDENT IN OUR ANSWERS TO RESPOND TO THE COURT'S CHALLENGES AND CONCERNS. AND WE BELIEVE THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE IN A REALLY GOOD POSITION TO GO FORWARD AND HAVE THIS PROJECT FULLY OPERATIONAL IN 2019." ANDREW PEREIRA: "BUT RAIL OPPONENTS REMAIN EQUALLY OPTIMISTIC, SAYING THERE'S STILL A PRETTY GOOD CHANCE A FEDERAL COURT WILL BRING THIS PROJECT ONCE AGAIN TO A SCREECHING HALT." CLIFF SLATER: "IF THEY WAITED ANOTHER COUPLE OF MONTHS SO THEY WOULD HAVE A FIRM UNDERSTANDING OF THE OUTCOME OF THE LAWSUIT, AND THEY MIGHT SAVE... WE THINK THAT COULD SAVE A LOT MONEY." However, every day rail doesn't get built costs taxpayers an average of $200,000. That's why crews also restarted work on the project's storage and maintenance facility near Leeward Community College. So far, delay claims stand at about $35 million, and the mayor says rail must get moving. KIRK CALDWELL: "IF WE WAITED FOR EVERY LAWSUIT TO BE RESOLVED, EVERY APPEAL TO BE FINALIZED, WE'D BE WAITING FOREVER FOR THIS PROJECT." Although pillars are now going back up, the city reached an agreement with lawsuit plaintiffs to bring them back down if a federal court rules alternatives to rail were a whitewash. CLIFF SLATER: "THE KEY ISSUE IS IRREPARABLE DAMAGE, DAMAGE YOU CAN'T REPAIR. THEY SAID WE CAN REPAIR IT, SO WE DIDN'T HAVE A CASE FOR FILING AN INJUNCTION." Even if the city wins the lawsuit, a federal judge could still order the construction of a Beretania Street tunnel when the project reaches the city center. Rail opponents want the project stopped, but say a tunnel would be a better option then taking the elevated rail line by Honolulu's waterfront. Back to you.