The purpose of the Honolulu Rail Transit Project, or Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project, is to provide high-capacity rapid transit in the highly congested transportation corridor situated between Kapolei and UH Manoa and Waikiki. The project will improve corridor mobility, transit reliability, and service equity, while improving access to master planned development, including the second city of Kapolei.
What is the Honolulu Rail Transit Project?
The Honolulu Rail Transit Project, or Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project, is a 20-mile elevated rail line featuring 21 stations. The project will connect West Oahu with the Honolulu International Airport continuing through downtown Honolulu with a final stop at Ala Moana Center.
A total travel time of 42 minutes, including stops, will take passengers from the beginning of the line in East Kapolei to its end-point at Ala Moana Center.
The system features modern, electric, steel-wheel-on-steel rail trains each capable to carry hundreds of passengers in each direction. The system will move approximately 8,000 passengers in each direction during peak-travel hours.
What are the benefits?
Rail transit will be a fast, attractive, and reliable alternative to driving for many commuters. By year 2030, about 116,300 trips per weekday are expected on rail transit. The system will remove about 40,000 vehicles from our roads each weekday by the year 2030. This reduction in the number of cars and trucks on our congested streets will deliver benefits and improve travel times for everyone - train riders, bus passengers and vehicle drivers.
Approximately 10,000 jobs each year will be attributed to the construction of the rail project. In addition, transit-oriented development will take place around rail stations, which has the potential to infuse our economy with billions of dollars during the coming decade.
How much will the project cost to build and how will we pay for it?
The capital cost for building the 20-mile rail line is $5.2 billion, including finance charges. This figure has been adjusted for inflation and represents the cost through 2019, when construction is anticipated to be completed. Contingency is more than $600 million. Rail construction will be funded by two sources:
The 1⁄2 percent surcharge on the General Excise and Use Tax (GET) is paid by residents, businesses, and visitors on Oahu. This is expected to net approximately $3.7 billion. The city has collected and banked nearly $1 billion in GET surcharge for rail to date.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has signed a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) to contribute $1.55 billion in New Starts funding to build Honolulu's rail system. Congress has already appropriated $65 million for planning and design, and the Obama Administration has awarded another $55 million for Honolulu rail in its budget.