New Jersey Project Reinforces Honolulu on Right Course with Rail Project

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BY HARVEY BERLINERNews of the New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to pull the plug on its rail tunneling project reinforces the fact that Honolulu made the right decision in keeping its system elevated and on a timely track.

While the east coast system is clearly more complex — with multiple jurisdictions, a myriad of political interests and numerous problems — it also underscores the perils of taking a major transportation project underground. Tunneling typically unearths far more risks, delays and costs than a tried-and-true above-ground system.

Gov. Christie’s recognition that the New Jersey project has simply gone on for far too long, mired in expensive delays and detours, also reinforces the need to keep Honolulu’s project moving at a prudent pace.

Honolulu’s taxpayers should know that its rail project has a sound financial plan, sensible cost-overrun contingencies and regular monthly reviews on all fronts by a team of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) experts.

Lessons learned from New Jersey: Stay elevated and stay on course.

Harvey Berliner is the Deputy Project Officer, Design and Construction for the Honolulu Rail Transit Project

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  1. Are we using the latest technology to build the Mass Transit underground?

    Hong Kong is building another 50+ Kilometers of rail with most sections underground using the latest technology within the next 5 years.

    Some section of the Mass Transit is 100+ feet below ground. Some sections must deal with underground sea water.

    The company handling it is the MTR http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTR.

    They are building Mass Transit for Hong Kong and throughout Asia.

    The Mass Transit is funded by the private sectors costing US$10s of billions WITHOUT tax increase.

    I think the NEW Mayor and Governor may want to take a look both on the technology and business model.

    I am just wondering if the consultants employed by the City and State are any good at all?

    They probably had paid so much political contribution to our elected officials that they were ensured of getting the job even though promised to be a terrible deal for anyone who has chosen to live in Honolulu.

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