City Cannot Begin Construction on Honolulu Rail Without ‘Letter of No Prejudice’ from Feds

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BY CLIFF SLATER – A reminder to the City & County of Honolulu Administration: On September 20, 2004, the Federal Transit Administration wrote to the City informing them that the Record of Decision finalizing and approving the environmental process for the City’s Bus/Rapid Transit (BRT) project had been rescinded.


This event took place one year four months after the FTA had approved the Final EIS for the BRT, and one year after the FTA had approved the Record of Decision.

The FTA cited as its reasons, among other issues, the City’s beginning construction before acquiring a Letter of No Prejudice from the FTA allowing it to spend City funds before being given federal funds.

Unlike the present situation where no federal funds have yet been appropriated for construction of the rail line, federal funds had already been appropriated for the BRT program.

The reason we bring this to the City’s attention is Mayor Carlisle’s comment that he was ready to begin construction in March. He may be referring to relocation of utilities, which is allowed after entry into Preliminary Engineering, but he is not allowed to begin construction on the rail line itself before being granted a Letter of No Prejudice as is clear from the entry below and the December 31, 2009 letter from FTA Administrator Rogoff to Mayor Hannemann.