The Hawaii Rail Contract has finally been signed. After months and months of stalling, and several years of trying to push the bill through properly (we don’t want another Superferry situation on our hands, Ansaldo Honolulu JV signed a $1.4 billion contract with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation for 80 rail cars on Monday.
Under the conditions of the signing, Ansaldo must provide 16 of the 80 vehicles within three years. The contract, as stated above, underwent nine months of public scrutiny, calls for the Italian-based rail car company to deliver the first 16 vehicles to the city by 2014, and the rest to arrive by 2018.
There had been some previous issues with Ansaldo STS, as the rail agency’s board questioned the chief executive officer of Ansaldo STS, the operations arm of Ansaldo Honolulu. This was just one of the major concerns that the rail agency’s board had with Ansaldo that caused the contract to be repeatedly delayed. However, all issues have been put to rest, and the contract has been signed.
“We have strong safeguards in bonds and guarantees to protect us,” said Toru Hamayasu, interim executive director for HART. “But more importantly, I believe we selected a responsible contractor with a solid commitment to delivering a world-class system for Honolulu.”
Among the other issues with Ansaldo, there was concern about rail car delivery, as reports emerged from other U.S. cities that worked with Ansaldo about late deliveries and cars that didn’t meet specifications, particularly in Los Angeles.
That is all behind us now, or so we hope, as the contract is now signed, and work is to commence soon. This is the largest contract to ever be awarded in Honolulu. I guess we will see what happens.