The City of Honolulu was so anxious to start construction of its $5 billion rail line before voters could elect an anti-rail mayor that it began without completing the legally required archeological surveys. Only about a quarter of the surveys have been done, and the rest won’t be completed before the end of the year. As a result, the state Supreme Court has put a stop to construction until those surveys are done.
The city argues that delaying construction will simply make the rail line even more expensive. But that’s what happens when you fail to comply with a law that, no doubt, rail advocates would have eagerly used to delay any new highway construction.
As University of Hawaii engineer Panos Prevedouros notes, costs have already nearly doubled from estimates made in 2002. Mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano, who won a plurality but not quite a majority in the recent primary, argues that improving the bus system would do more to provide mobility at a far lower cost.