HONOLULU — Honolulu officials will allow $44 million from the city’s general fund to be used to finance the city’s 20-mile rail project.
The Honolulu City Council approved measures Tuesday that were needed to meet the demands of the Federal Transit Authority for the more than $8 billion project, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .
City officials told council members that the administration is examining financing options that are transparent, do not put the city in financial risk and get the funds into a Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit account by the federal agency’s Nov. 20 deadline.
The FTA had demanded for the city come up with $44 million to help fund administrative costs for the project, setting a Nov. 20 deadline to submit details as part of a project recovery plan.
The FTA had committed $1.55 billion for the rail project, but held up about $745 million pending a new recovery plan, which the agency required when project costs soared from the $5.26 billion number given several years ago.
An option for financing would be a short-term commercial-paper form of borrowing, which would be the “least invasive,” said Gary Kurokawa, Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s chief of staff. Another would involve reopening the operating budget for next year to find the amount in unused funds. This option “is not the most optimal,” Kurokawa said.
City officials are expected to present a plan to the council at its meeting scheduled for next week.