The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is a semi-autonomous city agency responsible for constructing, maintaining and operating the planned 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 $5.3 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 Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisleand 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 appear to be headed to court to resolve the issue.
Carlisle and the Honolulu City Council contribute a total of six selections — three each — to the 10-member board of HART.
The ten members of the HART Board of Directors are:
- Chair Carrie Okinaga, former corporation counsel for the city of Honolulu
- William “Buzzy” Hong, retired Hawaii Building and Construction Trades Council director
- Don Horner, chairman and chief executive officer of First Hawaiian Bank
- Keslie Hui, development manager for Forest City Enterprises
- Damien Kim, business manager and financial secretary of the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers chapter
- Ivan Lui-Kwan, an attorney and former Honolulu Budget and Fiscal Services director.
- Wayne Yoshioka, Honolulu transportation director
- Glenn Okimoto, State transportation director
- David Tanoue, city planning and permitting director
- Robert Bunda, former president Hawaii Senate
Tanoue will be the board’s non-voting member.
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.