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Frequently Asked Questions - Budget & Project Funding

FAQs - Budget & Project Funding
Who will be paying for construction of rail transit?

$1.55 billion of the construction cost is being paid for with funds from the Federal Transit Administration. A large percentage is being paid by tourists making purchases on Oahu (to which the half-percent GET surcharge applies), and the balance is being paid by residents and businesses (through the half-percent GET surcharge).

See: Full Funding Grant Agreement

Updated 7/2/2020

TAGS: Construction
Isn't HART borrowing money to pay for the rail project?

The project is only using short-term bonds that will be paid back using federal funds and revenue collected from the GET surcharge. 

Updated 7/2/2020

Have we received any Federal funding?

Yes. To date, HART has received $806,267,358, part of the $1.55 billion federal Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) that was approved in 2012 to pay for the construction of Honolulu's rail project. 

See: Full Funding Grant Agreement

Updated 7/2/2020

How much will the project cost?

The operating budget for construction of the full 20-mile alignment is $8.165B

How will we pay for it?

The local General Excise and Use Tax (GET) surcharge for rail, which is a half-percent surcharge on goods and services purchased on Oahu, has been collected since 2007. The surcharge will continue through 2027. This will yield $4.8 billion for the project. Another $1.55 billion has been awarded to HART by the Federal Transit Administration. The remaining funds will come from other federal programs and locally generated revenue, such as interest on funds on deposit.

See: Full Funding Grant Agreement

How much of the construction cost will be paid by the federal funds?

$1.55 Billion of the project cost will be paid for by the federal government.

See: Full Funding Grant Agreement

Updated 7/2/2020

Will HART have enough money to complete the project due to the GET and TAT funding shortfall due to Covid-19?

The project receives funding from multiple sources—in addition to GET and TAT, $1.55 billion has been awarded to HART by the Federal Transit Administration. The remaining funds will come from other federal programs and locally generated revenue, such as interest on funds on deposit. We are also introducing an element of private funding as part of the P3 contract. As the picture becomes clearer as to the effects of Covid-19 on funding sources, solutions will be devised to make up for any shortfall.

Updated 7/2/2020

TAGS: Covid-19, FTA, P3, TAT
Why are we spending all this money on rail instead of using it for education and affordable housing?

GET and TAT funding can only be used for rail transit, it’s separate from the City budget.

Public transportation as a whole is subsidized by the government at the Federal, State and Municipal levels because it is a public service that serves the community.

Updated 7/2/2020

HART Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation