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State briefs for July 5

Report: Honolulu rail costs higher than projected

HONOLULU — A new report about Honolulu’s rail project estimates the price tag to be $8.3 billion, about $134 million more than the city’s projection.

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The report from independent consultant Jacobs Engineering Group also indicates the project could be operational by September 2026, about nine months later than originally projected by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

The review was conducted on behalf of the Federal Transit Administration, which has withheld about $744 million of the $1.5 billion the agency promised in late 2012. The rest of the funding is pending on a project-recovery plan for how the authority intends to address increasing costs.

Authority officials said they have a better grasp on the costs and that the price has not risen significantly since May 2016.

The authority board is expected to decide this month on whether to seek a public-private partnership for the project, which should lead to better project scheduling and timing estimates, said Andrew Robbins, the authority’s executive director.

Maui firefighters battle brush fire, evacuate plant

HONOLULU — A concrete mixing plant was evacuated as firefighters battled a fast-moving brush fire Tuesday on Maui.

The Maui Fire Department said the blaze was not threatening any homes.

The department sent three engines, two tankers, two air units and several heavy equipment units to battle the fire. The fire’s size wasn’t immediately released. The flames were reported to be near Haleakala Highway and Haliimaile Road and were spreading south.

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Tuesday’s evacuation request was for a nearby concrete mixing facility owned by Honolulu Construction &Draying.

The cause of the fire has not been determined.

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