Confidence of rail finishing on time drops, Federal risk report shows

This week the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (Hart) announced the 2017 opening date for the first ten miles will likely be delayed by a year. Now we've learned the Federal government has lost confidence Hart will finish the full route by the original projected date of March 2019. The new Risk Refresh report says there is a 50 percent confidence level the project will be completed by December 2019. "It's meant to hammer on us on schedule, scope and budget and figuring out ways to reduce that," said Dan Grabauskas, Hart CEO. Grabauskas says the confidence level is all based on worst case scenarios coming true. The report does say Hart could still finish on time but it "must implement strong schedule and contract management throughout the remainder of the project." The report also wants Hart to reduce costs and cut financing. "I think by nature that is their job to be risk identifiers, to be pessimistic and to highlight the dark side of a position," said Ivan Lui Kwan, Hart Board Chair. "Our job isn't to look in a Pollyannaish way about all the things that can go right. Our job is to look at all the things that can go wrong and look at them with realistic eyes and try to avoid those things," said Grabauskas. Hart's optimism isn't reassuring for some. "Repeatedly we hear on budget on time and the more I hear that the more worried I get. Why do they have to say this over and over? It's already not going to be on time," said Ann Kobayashi, Honolulu City Councilmember. The property acquisition is also behind schedule. Of the 225 properties along the rail route Hart is buying the latest estimate is 20 to 30 may end up in condemnation. "Some of that we hope won't be hostile. We hope that we'll be able to settle," said Grabauskas. A deadline that's still on track is the construction of the actual rail cars. "It's very exciting news for us to see, touch and feel the pieces of the rail car," said Grabauskas. "These are actual pieces that have come from the factory being assembled." Fresh from Italy rail car maker Ansaldo Honolulu sent over actual aluminum parts. Ansaldo says it is on schedule to deliver the first cars in 2016. Hart has also hired new manager Whitney Birch from Vancouver to develop a smart card fare collection system that will work on the rail, bus and handivan. The actual cost to ride the rail won't be set for another year or so.

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