Other major steps are required before the project can break ground, including the issuance of a Record of Decision by the Federal Transit Administration. Mayor Peter Carlisle said he anticipates a construction start early next year.
Abercrombie’s four-paragraph statement began:
About that Funding
Nobody is predicting clear sailing for rail, not even the City. Rail opponents already are pledging to file lawsuits against the project, continuing their decades-long attempt to block fixed guideway transit on Oahu. And then there’s the study of rail’s financial plan ordered up by former Governor Linda Lingle conducted by Infrastructure Management Group.
IMG’s study continues to generate some media interest, but virtually all of it is at two relatively obscure online sites – Civil Beat, the subscription news service, and Hawaii Reporter, which is a frequent outlet for anti-railers Panos Prevedouros and Cliff Slater.
The City today released an eight-page review of IMG’s study, which suggested a $1.7 billion shortfall in the project’s financial plan. Civil Beat found a $277 million mistake in IMG’s calculations, and the City’s assessment digs in deeper. The document’s summary:
We’re expecting quotes in Friday’s morning paper by the aforementioned rail opponents. They’ve been at it for two decades, and we know their criticisms by heart.
They’re not going away, but neither are rail’s supporters, who have much to celebrate and be heartened by tonight.