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CITY BREAKS GROUND FOR HONOLULU RAIL TRANSIT PROJECT

(Tues., Feb. 22, 2011) – Honolulu’s rail transit project will create thousands of jobs and provide a badly needed transportation alternative that will benefit Oahu for decades and generations to come, Mayor Peter Carlisle said at the project’s ceremonial groundbreaking and blessing today.

“The Honolulu rail transit project will transform how we travel, work, play, and live,” Carlisle said. “The project is the effort of many people throughout the years. Rail will provide thousands of jobs for our local work force, relieve traffic congestion, improve mobility, and pave the way for an exciting future for Oahu residents.  It is our gift to a better future.”

More than 400 people attended the ceremony, held along Kualakai Parkway (North-South Road) in East Kapolei, near the site of the first of 21 stations planned for the 20-mile rail route. Speakers included Carlisle, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, City Council Chairman Nestor Garcia, and longtime West Oahu resident Maeda Timson.

The elevated rail system will stretch from Kapolei to Ala Moana Center and is expected to cost $5.5 billion. The project will include stations in communities such as Waipahu, Pearl City, Aiea, Kalihi, Chinatown, Downtown Honolulu, and Kakaako. There will also be stations at activity centers such as UH-West Oahu, Leeward Community College, Pearl Highlands, Pearlridge, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu International Airport, and Honolulu Community College.

The City has already awarded a construction contract for the first phase of the elevated rail guideway from East Kapolei to Pearl City.  A second contract for the train storage and maintenance facility in Waipahu is expected to be executed shortly. The City is scheduled to award two more major contracts this year for the second phase of the rail route from Pearl City to Aloha Stadium and for the “core systems,” which consists of the train vehicles and the control center for the rail system.

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Media Contact:  Louise Kim McCoy, Mayor’s Office, 768-7798