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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Honolulu rail behind schedule and over budget -- because of protest?

Rail contract award protest creates delays
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s plan to save money on the over-budget rail project is leading to even longer delays. HART initially wanted separate contracts to build each of the first nine rail stations on Oahu. But plans were scrapped last year when the bids came in much higher than expected. So to save money, HART combined the jobs. Companies bid on a contract covering multiple rail stations along Farrington Highway.

But there was a bid protest by the second lowest bidder. HART denied the contractor’s protest and the bidder filed an appeal. The bad news is we’ve already lost a month of time when we wanted to award and now we’re going to lose another month and a half.

But, that’s not the only delay.

KHON2 looked at the monthly report by the Federal Transit Administration consultant who’s overseeing rail, and learned the contract for part of the first segment, West Oahu/Farrington Highway, is four months behind. Part of the second segment, the Kamehameha Highway guideway, is seven months behind, and then there’s the previously mentioned delay for the three Farrington Highway stations. “Unfortunately, these three stations are really critical to keep us on schedule.

HART must also come up with a new financial plan. Taxes collected for rail are well below expectations. While the tax revenue for rail was about $9 million above projections for this past quarter, and even though HART has collected nearly $1.47 billion in local revenue, overall funding is still $30 million below projections.

So officials will need to address the shortfall and come up with alternate funding in an updated plan.
A failure of market (pricing) research and planning is obvious. The protest is only a side show that someone is holding up to hide behind. Happens all the time.

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