The City Council has cleared the final environmental requirement to begin construction of Honolulu's rail system, by approving a Special Management permit. The perit allows the $5.5 billion project to be built near coastal management zones. "It allows us to technically break ground, and clears the way for all the other permits we need to get," said Wayne Yoshioka, interim Department of Transportation Services director. The project will extend 20 miles, and 1.6 of those are in coastal management areas. The city hopes to break ground in March.
The permit is likely to be the last requiring Council approval. The project still needs several others that will be handled directly through the city Department of Permitting and Planning. Last week, the Federal Transit Administration issued a record of decision, clearing the project to begin relocating utilities and negotiating property acquisition.
Barbara Abe, Realtor