By AUDREY McAVOY, Associated Press, U.S. News & World Report; January 10, 2019
HONOLULU (AP) — Officials prematurely awarded contracts for Honolulu’s commuter rail line a decade ago to minimize public criticism and show the project was moving along. But this practice dramatically swelled costs as plans changed, a new audit of the vastly over-budget project said Thursday.
The 20-mile-long rail line was estimated to cost $5.1 billion in 2012, but the forecast ballooned to $9.2 billion six years later. The rail is due to connect Honolulu’s western suburbs to the airport, downtown and the Ala Moana Shopping Center, Oahu’s biggest mall. Supporters hope it will prevent chronically bad traffic to downtown from getting worse as the population in West Oahu continues to grow.