Honolulu’s rail line will open June 30

May 22, 2023
The first nine stations will connect East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium with two planned extensions in 2025 and 2031.

The initial segment of Honolulu’s rail system will open June 30. The definitive opening date will bring the long-awaited line into service after financial and construction challenges changed its scope, threatened its financial resiliency and impacted its delivery schedule.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi called the announcement a “joyous moment” and joked he got the July opening month wrong during his State of the City address before exclaiming “we’re ahead of schedule.”

“This is truly a momentous and historic day for the island of Oahu. [This] announcement marks the culmination of decades of hard work, perseverance and overcoming difficult challenges of every kind. We are all excited for the public to experience first-hand the transformative effect the rail will have for our island home,” said Mayor Blangiardi. “We are turning the page on the largest public works project in Hawaii’s history. On June 30, 2023, beginning at 2 p.m., residents who have been waiting for so long, will finally have the opportunity to board these beautiful trains and ride them for the very first time.”

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation CEO Lori Kahikina offered her gratitude toward the community for its patience and called the opening day announcement “a long time coming.” She also noted the project’s delivery progress during the past two and a half years is due to the support of the project’s partners at the municipal and federal levels.

The initial 11-mile segment will open with a celebration at the Hālawa rail station featuring dignitaries and entertainment. Officials intend to offer free transit service the first four days of operation, but riders will still need a HOLO card to access the system.

Extensions of the rail line are planned with the Airport Extension planned to open in 2025 that will connect Aloha Stadium with four additional stations to Middle Street – Kalihi Transit Center and the City Center Extension that will open in 2031 and add six stations to Civic Center.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.