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The panel of experts selected to make the final technology selection for the fixed guideway will reach its conclusion behind closed doors. The Mayor says that the panel will be discussing proprietary information of each transit system which could not be discussed in the open. The state Office of Information Practices has been asked to consider if the panel is required to obey the sunshine laws. The panel is expected to give its decision on technology at the end of February in a report to City Council and the administration. The Mayor said that they would go with the chosen technology for the transit project.
However, the City Council can hold public hearings and choose a different technology through a bill and they control the City's budget. This could be a drawn out affair.
The Mayor said that they hope to begin construction of the first section in late 2009 starting at East Kapolei (near West Oahu College campus) and finishing at Waipahu in 2012. I don't expect much ridership until other sections to downtown and Ala Moana Center are completed by 2018.
They estimated that the 20 mile transit project would cost $3.7 billion in 2006 dollars. Taking account of inflation from 2007 to 2018, they estimated that the cost would be $5 billion. Considering that the State DBEDT high-rise construction inflation index runs between 8 and 10% a year, the devaluation of dollar, and increases in oil and metals prices, you can bet that the final transit cost will be more than $5 billion.
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