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Rail

Background

The Honolulu Rail Transit Project (also known as the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project, or just “Rail”) is an urban rapid transit system under construction in Honolulu County. The mostly elevated system features design elements from both heavy rail systems and light metros, with a commuter rail-like design incorporated into trains and suburban stations. It will become the first large-scale publicly run metro system in the United States to feature platform screen doors when it opens in late 2020 (projected).

The system seeks to alleviate the substantial traffic issues affecting the state’s populous urban corridor, stretching from Kapolei in the West to Waikiki in the East, as well as provide a reliable transportation alternative for visitors and commuters along this southern coast of Oahu. For more than 40 years debate over the development of a rail system in Honolulu has been a major point of contention in local politics, especially leading into the 2008, 2012 and 2016 election cycles.

The first phase of the project, linking East Kapolei and Aloha Stadium, is scheduled to open in 2018, while the second phase of the project continuing the line to Ala Moana Center is in financial trouble. The available funding is only sufficient for construction out to Middle Street in Kalihi, but the Federal Transit Administration has made clear that its contribution is contingent to completion of the line all the way to Ala Moana Center and will not be increased.

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