Honolulu’s future commuter rail line will cost even more than anticipated, according to new figures released Thursday at a public meeting of the city’s transit agency.

The latest project estimate from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation now puts the price tag of the 20-mile system at nearly $6.6 billion, which is $1.3 billion more than original estimates.

Costs for the project have only been increasing since the first anticipated overruns were announced in December 2014. The last revelation of an overrun came just last month.

HART CEO and Excecutive Director Dan Grabauskas, left, and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell are struggling to control costs on the city's rail project.

HART CEO and Excecutive Director Dan Grabauskas, left, and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell are struggling to control costs on the city’s rail project.

Cory Lum/CIvil Beat

The most recent projected increases discussed by the HART Board of Directors on Thursday are due to higher-than-expected costs to move utilities, do traffic work, add additional escalators and pay off debt.

HART officials also said Thursday that the rail line, which will run from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center, won’t be fully operational until June of 2021.

The train was initially supposed to open in 2019.

News of the cost increase comes as the Honolulu City Council considers approving a five-year extension of the 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge that is paying for much of the project.

The Legislature passed the tax extension in May and Gov. David Ige signed it into law in July. But the law still needs council approval before it can be implemented.

But so far politics have gotten in the way as various council members, most notably chairman Ernie Martin, have voiced displeasure with oversight of the project.

Even Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has hired his own expert to help him keep tabs on construction and how HART is overseeing it.

You can read HART’s presentation on the new cost overruns here:

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