Hawaii auditor says premature contracts inflated rail costs

In this 2017 file photo, a rail line under construction stops abruptly in a field in the Honolulu suburb of East Kapolei, Oahu. (AP Photo/Cathy Bussewitz, File)

HONOLULU — Officials prematurely awarded contracts for Honolulu’s commuter rail line a decade ago to minimize public criticism and show the project was moving along. But this practice dramatically swelled costs as plans changed, a new audit of the vastly over-budget project said Thursday.