As expected, Friday’s Hawaii Supreme Court ruling has resulted in the city and county of Honolulu temporarily halting construction on its $5.26 billion rail project.

But at this point that decision, which was confirmed late Monday, has left many searching for answers to important questions, such as who’s responsible and how much is this going to cost taxpayers.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has done little to shed light on these issues.

On Monday, Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation attorney David Frankel met with the city and rail officials to discuss the project’s future.

Frankel represents Paulette Kaleikini, who is the only plaintiff in the Supreme Court case. She is a descendant of the Native Hawaiians buried in downtown Honolulu where the rail project is designed to run.

“For all intents and purposes, construction of the project has been halted although there may be some narrowly tailored, low-impact exceptions,” Frankel said in a statement.

He’s in discussions with the city about some work that it would like to continue. Aside from doing the archeological survey work, Frankel said the city wants to improve public safety at the project site, such as backfilling a trench, and continuing with maintenance activities, like erosion control. No decisions have been made about whether those activities should proceed.

Meanwhile, HART officials have been vague about what the Supreme Court ruling means for the project, saying it’s too soon to know.

On Friday, HART Executive Director and CEO Dan Grabauskas said the plan was to move ahead with building cement columns for the elevated, steel-on-steel railway. He also said on multiple occasions that the high court’s ruling would result in delays although he couldn’t say how long those would be or how much the setbacks might cost.

HART didn’t add much Monday to Grabauskas’ assessment from the week before other than to affirm that it won’t move forward with any new construction that will disturb the ground.

In fact, so little has changed that HART didn’t even attribute its official statement to an individual. It was the agency that spoke.

“HART has not yet determined the final details with respect to the recent state Supreme Court decision. In the meantime, in order to avoid additional litigation costs and until we are able to obtain guidance from the circuit court, no new construction, including ground-altering activity, will be done until the archaeological survey work is completed.”

There’s currently no timeline for when the circuit court will determine the next steps for the rail project. And Grabauskas said last week that the archeological survey work for the entire project wasn’t scheduled to be completed until March. He did note that the work could be fast tracked to shorten the delay.

The city’s already been dinged for delays in construction. Earlier this year the city agreed to pay a $15 million change order to Kiewit Pacific Co. for not getting work done on schedule.

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano urged the city Monday to stop construction on the project. He’s currently running for mayor on an anti-rail platform against former Honolulu managing director Kirk Caldwell.

In a letter addressed to Grabauskas and Mayor Peter Carlisle, Cayetano said the city should tell contractors to stop work on the project, noting its still awaiting word on a Full Funding Grant Agreement that will bring $1.55 billion in federal funds to the project.

“By allowing the design and construction work to continue the City is running up millions of dollars in costs — costs that will ultimately have to be borne by the taxpayers of Honolulu,” Cayetano said. “This is unwise. In the event that archeological study discovers massive iwi and burial sites in the path of the current rail route, significant changes may have to be made, wasting the design and construction now being done despite the Court’s ruling. The taxpayers should not pay for the cost of that work.”

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