Rail station bids exceed projected budget

HONOLULU (AP) – Bids that came in for construction of the first nine stations of a Honolulu rail transit system indicate the project’s cost may far exceed estimates.

Each of the three bids exceeded the estimate by at least $100 million. The least expensive, a $294.5 million proposal from Nan Inc., was still 60 percent more that the budgeted amount, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

“Clearly our estimates right now are suspect,” said Don Horner, vice chairman of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

Legal challenges stopped construction for more than a year. Construction costs have since increased, said HART executive director Dan Grabauskas.

When he joined the project more than two years ago, “There wasn’t a crane in the sky,” Grabauskas told HART’s board Thursday. “It’s a pretty red-hot market today.”

Bid requests for the nine stations were among the first to go out. The board had budgeted about $1.2 billion in construction for this year.

If actual costs are higher, members are not sure where money will come from to cover the difference.

Grabauskas said he would be able to tell whether the project can be built on budget after receiving other bids in the next few months.