The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is a semi-autonomous city agency responsible for constructing, maintaining and operating the Honolulu Rail Project on Oahu.
HART was formed after voters approved a city charter amendment in November 2010 to create the agency, which will manage the elevated rail line that will run from West Oahu to Ala Moana.
City officials estimate the project will cost about $10 billion to construct.
To form HART, the city’s Rapid Transit Division split off from the Department of Transportation Services and become its own agency.
The cost to run HART in its first year is about $21 million, according to the city’s budget website. Employees of HART officially began work on July 1, 2011.
HART will set the fares and fees of the rail transit system, purchase land, choose contracts, and seek federal grants, among other operational duties.
According to HART’s board resource notebook, the HART “vision statement” is:
- Mobility: Improving mobility for all residents, visitors and businesses on Oahu, particularly in the densely populated and congested corridor along the urbanized southern shore of the island.
- Reliability: Improving the reliability of travel in the corridor by offering a travel choice that will not be subject to at-grade level traffic congestion.
- Land Use: Supporting the City’s land development policy by providing access to an area targeted for development of a new urban center and helping create transit-oriented development along the rail line.
- Equity: Providing people who are dependent on public transportation with an improved means of accessing economic and social opportunities and activities.
- Sustainability: Protecting the environment and lessening dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels.
In early 2011, oversight of HART’s budget became a matter of dispute between, then mayor, Peter Carlisle and the Honolulu City Council. Carlisle argued the City Council did not have the authority to approve HART’s budget but the council disagreed. Both sides appeared for a time to be headed to court but later settled the matter.
Carlisle and the Honolulu City Council contributed a total of six selections — three each — to the 10-member board of HART.
The revised group of ten members of the HART board are:
- Chair Damien Kim, business manager and financial secretary of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1186.
- Hoyt Zia, former corporate counsel for Hawaiian Airlines.
- Glenn Nohara, board chair of Koda Engineering and Construction and civil engineer.
- Terrence Lee, partner at Sullivan Mehoula Lee.
- John Henry Felix, career in business, government, labor-management, community service, diplomacy and education.
- Terri Fujii, audit partner at CW Associates.
- Wes Frysztacki, director at Transportation Services and civil and traffic engineer.
- Ford Fuchigami, director of state Department of Transportation.
- Kathy Sokugawa, acting director of Honolulu Planning Department.
- Ember Shinn, Honolulu managing director and general counsel for large school district in California.
HART board members are considered volunteers and will begin work on a six-year capital program. The plan must be completed in the first six months of the full board’s existence.
Honolulu voters approved the formation of HART in November 2010.
The amendment asked voters if they supported revising the city charter to create a semi-autonomous public transit authority to manage the city’s mass transit system.