Maybe the personal touch will help.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation leaders flew to San Francisco this week to hand-deliver the agency’s latest version of a rail recovery plan to the Federal Transit Administration.

The FTA has been withholding the final $744 million in federal funds allotted to the project. The agency indicated recently that it has confidence in HART’s revised $9.19 billion budget for the project, but was still worried about the actual costs associated with switching to a so-called “public-private partnership” in order to finish the project.

HART Executive Director Andrew Robbins, left, and board member Hoyt Zia pose for a photo outside the San Francisco offices of the Federal Transit Administration. Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation

The agency indicated it did not plan to approve the rail recovery plan and start releasing the remaining federal money for the project until early next year.

HART Executive Director Andrew Robbins said the project has enough cash to get to early next year thanks to the city’s most recent bond float.

Still, HART released a statement Friday quoting Robbins as saying delivery of the recovery plan “is a great day for the rail project.”

“So many people at both HART and the City worked long and hard to complete the work needed to finish the Recovery Plan for the FTA,” Robbins said. “We are pleased to have delivered it in person today.”

The HART statement indicated the FTA is planning to stagger its release of the remaining $744 million, with $250 million coming next year and additional payments throuigh 2025.

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