The Honolulu transit project is a 20-mile elevated rail line that will connect west Oahu with downtown Honolulu and Ala Moana Center. The system features electric, steel-wheel trains capable of carrying more than 300 passengers each.
The project is projected to provide thousands of jobs for our local work force while relieving traffic congestion. The $5.5 billion transit project will include 21 stations in communities including Waipahu, Pearl City, Aiea, Kalihi, Chinatown, Downtown Honolulu, and Kakaako. There will also be stations at activity centers at University of Hawaii Manoa Campus as well as UH-West Oahu, Leeward Community College and Honolulu Community College. Other major areas include Pearl Highlands, Pearlridge, Aloha Stadium and Honolulu International Airport.
Ansaldo and Kiewit Infrastructure West were awarded the two major contracts in the Honolulu Rail Transit Project. Ansaldo Honolulu JV is a joint venture between the Finmeccanica companies Ansaldo STS (STS.MI) and AnsaldoBreda.
Ansaldo STS said the core systems design-build contract expected to amount to $574 million, with its portion of the contract totaling $367 million, and Ansaldqo Breda’s portion the remainder $207 million.
Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. under the $372-million Kamehameha Highway design-build contract, will be responsible for the 3.9-mile second phase of the rail elevated guide way from Pearl City to Aloha Stadium. The contract has come in about 17 percent above the current project estimate, Kiewit had already contracted for the 6.5-mile first phase of the elevated rail guide way.
A third design contract for the route from Aloha Stadium to Honolulu Airport will be announced later this year.
The expected train service for the first leg of the transit route from east Kapolei to Aloha Stadium is estimated to begin in 2015, with full service along the entire 20-mile route completed by 2019.
At a time where Hawaii’s economy is faced with rising costs and uncertain gas prices, rail offers a long-term solution for both our economy and transportation needs. With recent disasters in Japan and war going on in Libya, our tourism economy has been hit hard. It is necessary to develop new techniques in order to evolve our changing economy at a time of crisis.
Recently, mayor Peter Carlisle held a ceremonial groundbreaking and blessing for the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project on, February 22 along Kualakai Parkway (North-South Road) in Kapolei, Hawaii. This is the first of many steps the state is making to make this long awaited project begin.
Just as things start to sound good and get moving Protests and complaints flood the project. Sumitomo Corp. of America and Bombardier Transportation filed protest last week arguing that his company scored higher than Ansaldo in many aspects of the project and that failing to recognize and take into account cost and overall lifecycle. It could leave taxpayers paying up to $900 million more to operate and maintain the current contacted companies plans. Hopefully this protest is just a small bump in the road.
If all goes well, construction of the rail project will begin promptly and its finished outcome will provide an average of 9,000 to 10,000 jobs a year. Since there is no limit to the number of cars that are shipped onto Oahu, exponential growth of Honolulu’s traffic will make it nearly impossible for commuters traveling into town. It is necessary for workers to be able to make it effortlessly, on time to jobs, the majority being in the Honolulu area (it being the central tourist hub). Modernizing our transportation infrastructure is a vital investment, not just in Hawaii’s current economic recovery but in laying the foundation for economic activity for years to come. As long as we continue to move forward with this, efficiency and reliability will be provided to hardworking citizens of our community.