US District Judge A.
Wallace Tashima has given the City and County of Honolulu and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation everything short of a total victory in the federal lawsuit brought by former Gov. Ben Cayetano and others in an effort to stop Oahu's US$5.16 billion elevated-rail, mass-transit project.
Instead of putting the brakes on rail, Tashima, in a four-page ruling issued Thursday, said that HART could proceed with construction on most of the rail project's route. The only area where construction remains prohibited is in what is known as phase four, which is the stretch that extends to Ala Moana Center. The exact length of that phase was not immediately known.
Before construction can begin in that area, HART has to get approval from the Federal Transit Administration showing it is in compliance â meaning it has resolved the issues ruled in the plaintiffs' favor back in November. Such resolution will require further study of the project's impact on Mother Waldron Park in Kakaako, the feasibility of a Beretania Street tunnel, and identification of culturally-sensitive properties.
Even before those issues are resolved, other activities, including engineering, design, and other pre-construction work, may resume throughout the 20-mile path of the project, according to Tashima's ruling.
HART will be required to issue a status report on its compliance efforts every 90 days.
âThis is the news we had hoped for,â HART said in a statement issued shortly after the ruling. âThe judge's ruling allows us to complete the remaining work requested by the court while keeping the project on schedule. These additional studies will be completed next year, well in advance of when construction was scheduled to begin in the City Center area.â
original story at: http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/news/2012/12/27/federal-judge-gives-h...
Source: Pacific Business News