The likelihood of both visitors and locals riding the new $5.5 billion 20-mile elevated rail system may just have increased significantly. Plans for Honolulu’s mass transit system have been in the works for a half-century. The city announced yesterday that it had received confirmation from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) that the project has met all the requirements of the environmental review process. That clears the way for construction to begin on Honolulu’s first rail system.
Will it be of help to visitors?
The new rail system will connect 21 Oahu stations, including the Honolulu Airport, downtown, and Waikiki-adjacent Ala Moana Center. The problem is that there are no plans that I can find for the rail lines to enter Waikiki. (Note: some earlier maps had shown Waikiki as a future extension). Visitors will need to board buses at Ala Moana for Waikiki destinations.
Today marks an important milestone in Oahu’s quest to become a more transit-friendly island”– Peter Rogoff, FTA.
Honolulu’s traffic is among the country’s worst. The rail system should be of great help to those trying to cost-effectively transit the airport and other parts of Honolulu.
Trains will carry about 300 passengers each and be similar to Portland’s MAX, Seattle’s Sound Transit Light Rail and L.A.’s Gold Line. The project is slated to be completed in five stages taking place over the next six to nine years.
It comes at a good time in terms of of rising fuel costs, of which Hawaii’s are the nation’s highest.
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