The Hawaian city of Honolulu’s proposed rail transit system has won US Federal Transit Administration approval to enter the next phase of preliminary engineering.

The approval means that the financial and engineering plans of the project meet federal requirements.

The project is now eligible for nearly $1.5bn in federal funding.

The city can also now begin using $39m in federal funds, which includes $4m in stimulus money.

The approval allows the city to go ahead with refining engineering, construction schedules, financial planning and more.

The city officials hope the groundbreaking of the project will begin this December.