On December 19, 2012 the Federal Transit Administration executed a $1.5 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement for $ 5 billion, 20-mile, Honolulu rail transit project. The Project will serve the heavily congested corridor between the west side of O'ahu and downtown Honolulu. The Project will provide transit access to major employment centers, activity centers, and tourist destinations in Honolulu, including the Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Aloha Stadium, the Honolulu International Airport, Chinatown, the downtown business center, the Civic Center, the Port of Honolulu, and the Ala Moana Center.
At the signing ceremony in Washington, D.C., U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood noted that "The Honolulu rail transit project, the first of its kind in the state, will bring new transit options to the growing region and create a modern transportation system that is built to last for future generations". Secretary LaHood noted the recent passing of Senator Daniel Inouye: "And though, sadly, Senator Inouye cannot be here with us today, this agreement is a testament to his tireless advocacy on behalf of his state and its people."
FTA Adminstrator Rogoff commented that "Hawaii's first rail transit system will be a game-changer for the region because it will serve nearly 80 percent of Oahu's total population, including thousands of workers who commute into Honolulu every day from West Oahu," said Administrator Rogoff. "This historic project will cut commute times west of the city by more than 30 minutes each way, drastically improving the quality of life for residents who want to spend less time in their cars, more time with their families, and enjoy cleaner air."
The FTA funding commitment represents approximately 35 percent of the Project’s construction cost. Local revenues will provide about 65 percent of the Project cost.
The Project is the subject of pending environmental litigation under state and federal law. Nossaman is special counsel to the City in the federal litigation.