In anticipation of a $5.3 billion rail project coming in under budget, Honolulu transit authority officials are contemplating adding additional features to the system like a fare gate system, according to published reports.

But Don Horner, chairman of the finance committee of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, told Honolulu Civil Beat that his preference would be to decrease the size of the project and use leftover construction funds for operation and maintenance, reducing the subsidy taxpayers would have to pay. 

The elevated rapid-transit line will cover 20 miles from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center in Honolulu by 2019.

The price for the $482 million first phase of a contract awarded to Kiewit Pacific came in $90 million below what consultants had estimated for the project’s first phase, but the savings could be lost through the cost of change orders or after-the-fact modifications to the project. The project has already accrued $20 million worth of change orders, according to reports.

If there is savings, the authority’s board will make the final decision about how the money would be used.

If the savings are in the $300 million to $400 million range, transit advocates might also advocate adding lines to Waikiki and to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the report said.

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