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Costs May Keep Rising for Honolulu's Rail System

<p>The costs of Honolulu's planned commuter rail system have been estimated at nearly $4 billion, but that price tag is expected to rise further as the system develops.</p>
March 25, 2008, 8am PDT | Nate Berg
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"If history is any indication, the $3.7 billion projected price tag for Honolulu's commuter rail system could climb before the project is finished in 2017."

"City officials hope to avoid a repeat of history by including a $1 billion buffer in the price tag for Honolulu's planned 20-mile commuter rail system. That should reduce the risk of cost overruns, said Toru Hamayasu, chief of the city's transportation planning division."

"However, the actual cost of Honolulu's rail project could still vary widely from preliminary estimates, according to an October 2006 report by project consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff. The consultant warned that the then $3.6 billion cost estimate could be anywhere from 30 percent too low to 25 percent too high."

"Honolulu taxpayers are expected to bear about $3 billion of the project's costs via a half-percentage point excise tax surcharge that expires in 2022. They could be asked to pay more, if the project's cost exceeds expectations."

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Published on Monday, March 24, 2008 in The Boston Globe
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