Acquisition creates Oahu rail conflict

HONOLULU (AP) – A company holding contracts to design three parts of the Oahu rail project completed the purchase last month of a company with a contract to inspect their designs.

Officials with the Honolulu Authority for Rail Transit are attempting to work out an arrangement to end the apparent conflict of interest.

Los Angeles-based AECOM Technology Corp. acquired San Francisco-based URS Corp. for $6 billion Oct. 17, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

AECOM Technical Services was awarded three design contracts for $99.2 million. The company is designing the Aloha Stadium to Honolulu airport section of the 20-mile guideway with a $42.6 million contract, the airport to Ala Moana section with a $45.2 million contract and the airport section’s rail stations with an $11.4 million contract. URS Corp. has a $63.1 million construction management contract to conduct construction engineering and inspection of the airport and town sections of the project.

HART Executive Director Dan Grabauskas explained the dilemma Wednesday in response to questions from City Council Budget Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi.

HART, Grabauskas said, is reviewing options, including re-soliciting and re-bidding contracts. He does not want a simple “firewall” between the two companies, he said.