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(Honolulu, October 12, 2009)- Mayor Mufi Hannemann today hailed the announcement from Senator Daniel K. Inouye and the entire Hawaii Congressional delegation that the Honolulu Rail Transit Project has entered the Preliminary Engineering (PE) phase of the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts funding program.


 "This is another vote of confidence given to the Project from Washington, DC," said Mayor Mufi Hannemann. "Our financial and engineering plans have successfully passed detailed scrutiny by federal transit officials and their oversight consultants to enter PE.  I am grateful to FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff and Senator Inouye for their leadership on this issue."


"Today's announcement takes us a giant step closer to groundbreaking at the end of the year and rail construction that will create hundreds of new jobs in 2010 and thousands of jobs in coming years."


"We can't miss this window of opportunity now for building this much needed transit line. Getting into PE shows that this project is very sound financially.  We're in the home stretch now and we need to move forward so we can put people back to work, help the economy turn around and create the option that our residents need to help relieve traffic congestion on our island."


With entry into the Preliminary Engineering phase, the Project maintains eligibility for approximately $1.5 billion in federal funding for rail construction after completing further engineering design and refinements of financial and management plans. In addition, the Project can immediately utilize $39 million in federal funds, including $4 million Stimulus money, which is already appropriated by Congress through the hard work of the Hawaii Congressional delegation.  The Congress is also working on as much as an additional $30 million appropriation for FY2010.  Mayor Hannemann noted that these federal funds are in addition to the federal stimulus funds and they are being used to keep and add more new jobs in Honolulu and throughout the state.


The Project's upcoming milestones in 2009 include publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statement, the FTA's issuance of a Record of Decision, which will conclude the environmental review, award of its first construction contract, and groundbreaking.




Contact: Bill Brennan