Trump’s draft budget still includes Honolulu’s rail funds
HART CEO Krisniah Murthy underscored Trump's priority is for projects with existing Full Funding Grant Agreements- Honolulu's rail project is in the pipeline provided it gets the nod on a financial recovery plan.
HONOLULU - There's a lot riding on Honolulu's train so Hart officials didn't waste any time pouring over the president's budget.
HART CEO Krishniah Murthy underscored Trump's priority is for projects with existing Full Funding Grant Agreements, Honolulu's rail project is in the pipeline provided it gets the nod on a financial recovery plan.
"Our FFGA is already executed and the 2017 budget has the $1.5 billion allocation in there. So, if we don't make any changes we should be okay according to this budget," Murthy said.
Okay, provided we don't do anything drastic, like change the route like stopping at the Aloha Stadium, or to divert at street level through downtown, which some are suggesting at this late date.
HART and the city are under growing pressure to curb cost and today the board was asked to approve $8 million dollar in change orders, dating back to five years ago.
"We've got to get those legacy issues behind us just get on with it and worry about the future because if we spend too much time there, we are not going to look ahead and and its going to cost us years from now," Sam Carnaggio, HART Project Director said.
HART is struggling with a revolving door of key staff, something flagged by an independent three party panel that looked at technical capacity of staff and consutants to manage costs of the train now trending upwards to $10 billion.
Its challenge - to hire 13 additional high quality staff.
At the same time the board was assured the peer review wasn't all bad.
"They did validate that the process we are using is as good as it gets. Hopefully it's good enough. We'll see," Terrance Lee, HART Board Chair said.
With greater scrutiny over costs, some board members are worried divulging contingency budgets is giving the private sector an advantage at the expense of the public's interest.
"It's a concern as to whether or not there are legal constraints that compel us to make these kinds of detailed disclosures that work to the disadvantage to us as an organization," Colbert Matsumoto with the HART Board said.
Contracts aside, there is progress being made to repair the defective materials discovered on the guideway and in the trains.
Crews have working to remove the defective material along the guideways for about month now. They should complete removing those defective shims by the end of March.
Crews have replaced 44,000 plastic pads of shims as they are called at no extra cost to taxpayers and work on fixing structural defect on the cars in the first trains are underway.
"Train-2's inspection has been completed at the final assembly prior to shipment. Its getting ready to be loaded as we speak, and Train-1 is being inspected this week," Justin Garrod, Core Systems Manager said.
Some critical path issues still on track,
The guideway is making its way just past Aloha Stadium with the most most complicated and expensive leg ahead.