Honolulu Eyes Light Rail As Savior of Local Economy

With plans for a $4 billion light rail system, the city of Honolulu is hoping to boost its economy and create more jobs by contracting a number of smaller firms to do the project's work instead of one big firm.

"The city hopes to attract more local companies to work on its $4 billion mass-transit system by creating smaller contracts, as opposed to larger, $100 million contracts that are typically awarded only to national and international firms."

"At a workshop presented by the city for construction companies yesterday at the Neal Blaisdell Center, Mayor Mufi Hannemann emphasized the importance of the number of jobs mass transit would create that would help spur the slowing economy."

"To help local companies capitalize on the system, the Hannemann administration will create multiple contracts, ranging from $20 million to $350 million."

"In 1992 the city was ready to issue large contract awards that excluded many firms from bidding on its rail transit system when the City Council refused to spend local funds, killing the project."

"'Local firms were left at the mercy of large companies whether to hire them,' said Toru Hamayasu, the deputy transportation director. 'That was a lesson learned from 1992.'"

Full Story: Mayor expects jobs with transit plan

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