Series uncovers delays and over-spending on Hawaii’s largest infrastructure project, while developers cash in

Honolulu Civil Beat, with support from the Fund, published a three-part investigative series showing significant problems in the development of Hawaii’s largest-ever infrastructure project, a multibillion-dollar elevated rail. Lead reporter Marcel Honore examined 400,000 pieces of information about real estate transactions and property-value increases and interviewed multiple sources over six months. The investigation found that the enormous potential for transit-oriented development along the Honolulu Rail has yet to materialize, in part due to ongoing financial challenges and uncertainty about funding that may force the city to shorten the planned rail line. The project was estimated to cost $5 billion and be finished by 2019. Today’s price tag has more than doubled the previous estimate, and the line is unlikely to be completed before 2030. However, major developers and landowners already have cashed in, thanks to special fast-track permits to build denser, more walkable communities that have been built even as the rail line has stalled.