Where’s That Money for Honolulu Rail Coming From, Gov. Abercrombie?

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BY FRANCES NUAR – Our governor Neil Abercrombie must think there’s a pot of gold at the end of all the rainbows we have here.

Otherwise, how could he have signed off on the rail project, which an independent study estimated will cost an additional $1.725 billion more than the original $5.269 billion price tag? Mayor Peter Carlisle announced today that approval has been given by the Federal Transit Administration to begin construction of the monumental project.


If history is any indication, better to watch out. Interstate H-3 was approved in 1960, it didn’t open to traffic until 1997. It cost taxpayers $80 million a mile, $1.3 billion total. According to estimations, the rail will cost $350 million per mile at best, and we’ll be lucky if it’s completed in 40 years.

And the question of course: just how will this $6.994 billion project be paid for? Hold off on asking Gov. Abercrombie that, he’s in a mess right now with the budget as it is. Though I can still hear the echo of his campaign promises to “hit the ground running”, now it seems he needs more time to figure out the state budget.

“Abercrombie discovered that state finances are in worse shape than thought, and aides have signaled they need more time to devise a way to erase an $844 million shortfall over the next 2-1/2 years. As a result, some lawmakers are warning that ambitious proposals he’s made may have to be delayed.”

How on earth did a candidate for Governor, or any informed citizen for that matter, not know how bad our state finances are? I hoped for more Mr. Abercrombie. What I see is the typical politician promising one thing than oh so quickly changing his tune. Please, Mr. Abercrombie. Prove me wrong.





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