The Honolulu Railroad is the largest public works project ever undertaken in Hawaii. It was initially proposed to reduce the pressure on the island's highways, although some have argued that a more cost-effective bus system or other public transportation could have been implemented. The Oahu Rail System is expected to have a major impact on the real estate sector, with transit-oriented development (TOD) of housing, services and jobs at each of its stops. The stations near Ewa have been completed and the railroad services that passed through Kalihi and the city center are being relocated.
Most officials have adopted an attitude of “if it is built, they will come”, and have said that, in the end, the island will benefit from the system when it is fully operational. While some may see the railroad as an eyesore in Hawaii's skyline, others may view it as an innovative form of transportation that will transform Oahu. According to the Honolulu County Municipality, 26 percent of the railroad and its planned development could revolutionize the real estate sector on Oahu. HART safety and human resources teams have implemented safe work practices for construction workers and office staff to continue advancing the construction of the Oahu Railroad. Despite this progress, funding for the project has become more difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Hawaii's economy.
Deputy Director of City Transportation Services, Jon Nouchi, promoted best practices for getting on and off trains at a press conference on Thursday, emphasizing the use of “elevators” for beginners to rail systems and encouraging passengers to consider which route they are taking to avoid traveling in the wrong direction. At this time, there is no exact date for when the Oahu Rail System will be completed. However, officials are confident that it will be operational in the near future and that residents will begin to reap its benefits once it is up and running. The completion of this project will bring many advantages to Oahu. It will reduce traffic congestion on highways, provide a more efficient way of getting around town, create jobs in construction and other related industries, and spur economic growth through TOD projects. Additionally, it will provide a safe and reliable form of transportation for residents and visitors alike.
The Oahu Rail System is an ambitious project that has been in development for many years. Despite delays due to funding issues caused by COVID-19, officials remain confident that it will be completed in the near future. Once operational, it will revolutionize transportation on Oahu and bring many benefits to residents.