However, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (Hart) may be granted some leeway concerning the submission of an official recovery plan for the project. The FTA previously required Hart to submit a recovery plan by the end of the year. During the meetings in San Francisco, the Hawaii delegation reaffirmed the city’s commitment to build to Ala Moana and requested the FTA reconsider its end of year submission date.

“We are very encouraged by the FTA’s response,” Honolulu’s mayor Mr Kirk Caldwell said. “Our meetings with the FTA were productive in that we sent a clear message to them that the city and Hart leadership are united and committed to build rail all the way to Ala Moana.”

In December 2012, the FTA and the city signed a full funding grant agreement (FFGA) committing the federal government’s $US 1.55bn for Honolulu to build the elevated metro with 21 stations.

“Our federal partners made it clear that ending the project at Middle Street is unacceptable and would risk the full $US 1.55bn committed to the city through the FFGA,” said City Council chair Mr Ernie Martin. However, both Caldwell and Martin’s request to the FTA for additional federal funds was rejected.

City officials said the meetings ended on a positive note with an agreement that project costs will be contained, a project review by transit experts will be conducted by year end and an updated financial plan will be prepared by Hart as the FTA is reconsidering its recovery plan due date.

The initial section of the line from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium is due to open in 2018 with the remainder of the line to Ala Moana Center scheduled for commissioning in 2021.