LOS ANGELES — A federal judge ruled Thursday that Honolulu can continue work on the first three phases of a $5.2 billion elevated rail transit project, but must hold off on construction of the fourth and final phase until certain conditions are met.

The ruling by Hawaii U.S. District Court Judge A. Wallace Tashima effectively secures the $1.5 billion in federal funding Honolulu received from the Federal Transit Administration on Dec. 20 to build the 20-mile rail project from Kapolei to Ala Moana in Honolulu.

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