The city of Honolulu announced it is pulling out of the effort to land a private-sector partner to complete construction and operate a 20-mile, $9.2 billion rail system during its first 30 years. However, according to Civil Beat, this doesn’t mean procurement for the rail is dead. It is up to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) to cancel, since it is the lead agency on the procurement.
The semi-autonomous rail agency’s leader said they’re still trying to find a way to move forward on a process that has already taken two years. The Honolulu rail authority has warned that canceling plans to pursue a public-private partnership would trigger additional delays of up to 18 months as other options are pursued, according to Hawaii News Now.
“While the City has announced its withdrawal, I need to emphasize that HART is not canceling the procurement and is instead considering its options as to how best to now move forward with the construction…and completion of the project,” HART Executive Director Andrew Robbins said in a statement Friday.
Robbins and HART have previously stated that in order for the P3 deal to work, private companies would seek the long-term operation component, not just the construction.
According to the report, the P3 award has been characterized as the linchpin to keep the rail project going. It would secure a contractor to finish the project’s final four and most difficult miles, as well as a transit hub Pearl Highlands.
The FTA also set an award within rail’s budget as a condition for releasing the project’s remaining $744 million in federal funds.