22 Jun 2017

Hawaii urged to halt rail project

7:48 pm on 22 June 2017

A civil engineer in Hawaii is urging lawmakers to halt work on the incomplete Honolulu rail project because of a cost blow-out.

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Photo: 123rf.com

Panos Prevedouros, who was involved in the first assessment committee for the rail project, said in 2006 the projected cost was $US4.6 billion.

But the price tag to complete the project has risen to $US10 billion, prompting talk of tax hikes amid fears the system will hardly improve transportation.

Mr Prevedouros, who is a professor of transportation at the University of Hawaii, said it was time to stop the project.

"However they decided to spin it, and say 'you know, it's either rail or nothing, so let's do rail that can catch the traffic by two to three per cent and then that is good enough'.

"But then again it is extremely bad public policy to waste US$10 billion for a two to three per cent improvement. The bottom line right now is to cut our losses and stop insisting that we will finish this, because it is going to sink us."

Leaders in the state's House of Representatives and Senate plan to hold a special session in the coming months to try to resolve their impasse over how to fund the 32 kilometre (20 mile) project.