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FTA and City Sign $1.55 Billion Funding Agreement for Honolulu Rail Transit

FTA and City Sign $1.55 Billion Funding Agreement for Honolulu
Rail Transit

The City and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
today signed a historic agreement that secures $1.55 billion
in federal funding for Honolulu’s rail transit system. The
elevated rail project will provide Honolulu residents and visitors
with a safe, reliable and efficient transportation alternative
to some of the nation’s worst traffic congestion.

The agreement was signed during a ceremony
inWashington D.C., with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray
LaHood; FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff; U.S. Senator Daniel K.
Inouye’s Chief of Staff Jennifer Goto Sabas and the
Senator’s widow, Irene Inouye; U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka;
U.S. Senator-Elect Mazie Hirono; U.S. Representative Colleen
Hanabusa; Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle; Honolulu City Council
Chairman Ernest Y. Martin; City Council Vice Chairman Ikaika
Anderson; and HART Executive Director and CEO Dan Grabauskas,
in attendance.

“The Honolulu rail transit project, the first of its
kind in the state, will bring new transit options to the
growing region and create a modern transportation system that
is built to last for future generations,” said U.S. Transportation
Secretary LaHood. “And though, sadly, Senator Inouye cannot be
here with us today, this agreement is a testament to his
tireless advocacy on behalf of his state and its people.”

In a joint statement, U.S. Senator Akaka,
Senator-Elect Hirono, and Representative Hanabusa
said: “This full funding grant agreement for the Honolulu rail
project is a living legacy for Dan Inouye. We wish Senator
Inouye could have been with us for this historic signing, but
this is clearly his moment. He worked tirelessly to make our Hawaii
a better place to live. Securing federal funding for the rail
project was a priority for him, because he knew that it will
help O`ahu commuters avoid traffic and spend more time with
their families. It will reduce the amount Hawaii families spend
at the gas pump. It will encourage the development of
communities that are healthier and more pedestrian-friendly.
It will also reduce our need for imported oil. This project
honors Senator Inouye’s incredible legacy to our state.”

“This rail system will provide relief from the
punishing traffic the people endure daily,” Mayor Carlisle
said. “The rail system will provide a green
transportation alternative to our congested roads and
highways, create thousands of much-needed jobs and fuel our
local economy. It’s been 40 years coming, and we’ve waited far
too long.We’ve broken ground and we’ve got the money. It’s
time to get people back to work as soon as possible.”

Honolulu City Council Chairman Martin said, “This is
a bittersweet time for Hawai`i. The signing of the FFGA brings
our City closer than ever to seeing the vision of rail become
a reality and I am truly sorry that Senator Dan Inouye is not here
to witness the event. He was convinced that our investment in
a mass transit system for Oahu is a solid one and worked hard
to get us to this point. I am proud to be a part of
this effort, which will definitely be a part of Senator
Inouye’s legacy. “‘

“Securing this agreement with the U.S. government
confirms that this project is on solid financial footing, and
HART will continue to pursue delivery of this
efficient transit system for O`ahu on schedule and within our
existing budget,” said HART Board Chairwoman Okinaga. “This
tremendous milestone is the culmination of the hard work and
perseverance for so many years, of so many people,
foremost amongst them Senator Inouye and his staff. We could
not have gotten to this point without his leadership and
support, and while we honor his memory by proceeding, we
deeply mourn the loss.”

The signing of the Full Funding Grant Agreement
(FFGA) marks the final step of the FTA’s New Starts federal
funding process for O`ahu’s new rail system and makes $200
million in federal funding available to the Honolulu rail project
for fiscal year 2012. The full system is slated to be
operational in 2019.

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