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Bill Brennan
Director of Communications
1099 Alakea Street, Suite 1700
Honolulu, HI 96813
: 808-768-6197
: 808-228-1526
: Email

HART Office
HART Receptionist
1099 Alakea street, suite 1700
Honolulu, HI 96813
: 808-768-6159
: Email



Click on a Myth below to get the Rail Facts about the Honolulu rail transit project.

MYTH: “The rail is unsafe and will cost taxpayers more money because of defects in the guideway construction and the rail cars.”

FACT:  All of the construction work and rail car production go through rigorous quality and safety inspections to ensure all of the work meets HART’s standards.  HART will not accept from its contractors any work until it is satisfied that the finished products are of the highest quality and meet or exceed all safety requirements.

MYTH: HART's construction work in Ewa is destroying the fresh water aquifer.

FACT: The Ewa Caprock aquifer is non-potable and not used for drinking water. All of the Board of Water Supply drinking water resources near Kualakai Parkway are mauka of the H-1 Freeway, away from areas of rail construction. The Karst system may be within the coral deposits in the Ewa Caprock but does not contribute and flow upland to the mauka BWS wells.  

MYTH: An average family of five will pay more than $1,000 a year extra in GET for the rail.

FACT: That is incorrect. The rail tax surcharge is already incorporated in the existing General Excise and Use Tax (GET) and amounts to ½ a penny tax on each dollar spent.  If a household spends $2 on groceries, it has paid one penny ($0.01) to the rail fund.

Read more: Mythbusters: An Average Family of Five Will Pay More Than $1,000 a Year Extra in GET for the Rail

MYTH: HART doesn't keep track of all of the subconsultants working on the project.

FACT: HART's contracts are with the prime contractors, not the subcontractors.  Subcontractors are the firms hired by the prime contractors to assist them with performing the work. HART follows all state and federal procurement laws and holds the prime contractor accountable for completing the work according to the terms of the contract.  HART does track some subcontractors, as required by state or federal law, such as contractors participating in the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program and subcontractors who require special licenses to work on the project.

Read more: Mythbusters: HART Doesn't Keep Track of All of the Subconsultants Working on the Project

MYTH: HART can switch to maglev technology or use buses on top the guideway.

FACT: No, HART is not allowed to switch to maglev or other technologies. The Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) specifically provides $1.55 billion to build HART's 20-mile, 21-station project with a fleet of 80 vehicles using steel-on-steel technology. Changing the technology - including changing to Maglev or more buses- would not be permitted.  In addition, the rail guideway is specifically designed for a steel-rail system and cannot accommodate buses or other technologies. 

MYTH: Building the rail project at street level instead of elevated from Middle Street to Ala Moana Center will be cheaper and done sooner.

FACT:      Numerous studies on Honolulu’s rail project have all reached the same conclusion: at-grade light rail cannot deliver fast, frequent, safe, and reliable transit service for Oahu. This is why the Honolulu City Council, after carefully considering all options, chose a grade-separated system. The Federal Transit Administration reviewed the city’s research and independently validated the conclusion.

In contrast, the recent Honolulu Transit Task Force (HTTF) paper advocating for an at-grade rail system  does not take into account the numerous engineering studies, technical reports and reviews that support Honolulu’s grade-separated project.

Building an at-grade rail system would not be as inexpensive as the HTTF report touts. Based on an assessment of construction costs of new at-grade systems like Phoenix, the true building cost of HTTF’s proposal is hundreds of millions of dollars more than indicated in its paper.

Read more: Mythbusters: The Rail at Street-level after Middle Street is a Better Option

HART Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation