Honolulu Authority For Rapid Transportation

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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.

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Honolulu Authority For Rapid Transportation

February 2018

Wednesday, February 14

Rail Promised Lots Of Jobs But There’s No Sure Count Of What It’s Delivering

January 2018

Thursday, January 25

HART Board Hits A Snag In Deal Saving Taxpayers $130 Million

Tuesday, January 23

Is Honolulu Rail Agency Too Quick To Condemn Property?

Tuesday, January 2

Why Isn’t Honolulu Helping Businesses Hurt By Rail Construction?

October 2017

Monday, October 30

Rail Project Gets Some Much-Needed Money Management Help From State

Wednesday, October 25

Legislative Leaders Appoint Four People To Honolulu Rail Board

Tuesday, October 17

Chad Blair: Pro-Rail Groups Spent $200K On Special Session Lobbying Blitz

Monday, October 9

Honolulu Rail Deal Fallout: Neighbor Islands Want A More Open Legislature

Wednesday, October 4

City Must Find $160 Million To Pay For Rail Agency’s Employees

September 2017

Monday, September 18

The Estimated Cost Of Honolulu Rail Just Dropped By $1 Billion

Thursday, September 14

Honolulu Rail Board: What Do You Do With A $2.4 Billion Bailout?

Tuesday, September 5

Rail Bailout Bill Becomes Law As Ige Signs $2.4 Billion Measure

Friday, September 1

$2.4 Billion Rescue Bill For Honolulu Rail Wins Final Approval

Will Stricter Oversight Put Honolulu Rail On Track?

August 2017

Monday, August 28

$2.4 Billion Rail Rescue Plan Clears Another Senate Hurdle

Honolulu Mayor Urges Lawmakers To Put More Money In Rail Bailout Bill

Any Bailout Of Honolulu Rail Must Include Tough State Oversight

Rail Bailout Bill Requires Sweeping Audit

3 Things That Could Derail The Honolulu Rail Bailout

Thursday, August 24

Lawmakers Strike Deal To Increase Hotel Tax, GET To Pay For Rail

Friday, August 4

Honolulu Rail Art Celebrates Hawaiian Culture

July 2017

Thursday, July 27

Dream Plan or Pipe Dream? Group Pushes Street-Level Rail For Honolulu

Friday, July 7

Here’s Who Might Get Stung Hardest By Any New Rail Taxes

Thursday, July 6

Waipahu Businesses Have Hopes For Rail — If They Can Survive Construction

June 2017

Friday, June 23

Honolulu Rail Project’s Budget Increased By 11.5 Percent

Tuesday, June 20

How HART Tried — And Failed — To Keep Rail Records Secret

Wednesday, June 7

Council Puts Taxpayers On The Hook To Ensure Rail Work Continues

Thursday, June 1

Civil Beat Poll: Caldwell Is As Unpopular As Trump In Hawaii

May 2017

Thursday, May 18

Feds Anxious To Know How Honolulu Will Pay For Rail

Monday, May 8

Honolulu Rail: Caldwell’s Lack Of Leadership Is A Continuing Problem

Monday, May 1

City And Tourist Industry Blast Hotel Tax Hike As A Bad Idea

April 2017

Friday, April 21

Cayetano To Trump: Cut Honolulu Rail Funds

March 2017

Monday, March 20

Report: Rail Could Save Big With Private Financing

Thursday, March 9

Experts Tell Honolulu Rail What Needs To Be Fixed

February 2017

Thursday, February 2

UH Report: State’s Cut Of Honolulu Rail Tax ‘Exorbitant’

December 2016

Wednesday, December 21

Senate Leader Opposes Fast-Tracking Honolulu Rail Bill

Friday, December 2

$9.5 Billion For Honolulu Rail?

November 2016

Thursday, November 10

HART Board Gets New Chair

Wednesday, November 2

Formby Would Serve As Hanabusa’s Chief of Staff In Congress

October 2016

Friday, October 28

Nohara Appointed To Rail Board

Monday, October 3

Honolulu Tries To Buy Even More Time To Come Up With Rail Plan

September 2016

Thursday, September 29

HART Raises Estimate For Total Cost Of Rail To $8.6 Billion

August 2016

Wednesday, August 31

Djou: No Tax Increase For Honolulu Rail — Yet

Tuesday, August 30

Feds To Honolulu: Finish Rail Route Or Give Us Back Our Money

Thursday, August 18

Grabauskas Resigns As HART Executive Director

Friday, August 12

Take A Ride On The Honolulu Rail Route Alternatives

Wednesday, August 10

How Will Honolulu’s Next Mayor Pay To Finish The Rail Project?

July 2016

Tuesday, July 19

HART Signs $875M Contract To Build Rail To Middle Street

June 2016

Thursday, June 16

Hopelessly Over-Budget, Rail Should Stop At Middle Street, Mayor Says

Thursday, June 2

Honolulu Charter Commission Sees ‘Urgent’ Need For Rail Changes

May 2016

Tuesday, May 24

HART Has Bigger Problems Than Utilities

Martin Makes Curious Pick For HART

Hanabusa To Run For Takai’s Seat In Congress?

Tuesday, May 17

Does Colbert Matsumoto Have A Conflict Of Interest With Rail?

Friday, May 13

Honolulu Rail Price Estimate Jumps To $6.9B

Carlisle Wants To Be Mayor Of Honolulu, Again

Wednesday, May 4

Caldwell: ‘I Want To Keep This Job’

Monday, May 2

Here’s A 360-Degree View Inside Honolulu Rapid Transit’s First Train Car

April 2016

Thursday, April 28

‘Final’ Price Tag For Rail Not Expected Until Next Year

Tuesday, April 19

Honolulu Rail Project Expected To Cost The DOE Millions For New Schools

Friday, April 15

HART Continues Its Assault On Audit That Criticizes Rail Project

Thursday, April 14

Grabauskas: Honolulu Rail Audit ‘A Mess’

Monday, April 11

HART Board Chairman Resigns Amid Questions About Rail Cost Overruns

January 2016

Wednesday, January 27

Honolulu City Council Approves Rail Tax Extension

Tuesday, January 12

Five Unanswered Questions About Honolulu’s $6.6 Billion Rail Project

December 2015

Tuesday, December 22

HART OKs New Contract For Rail Stations

Wednesday, December 9

City Council Considers Killing Proposed Cap On Honolulu Rail Tax

November 2015

Tuesday, November 24

Honolulu Rail Budget In Limbo Until City Council Acts

Tuesday, November 17

HART Finds Savings With Latest Honolulu Rail Bids

Thursday, November 12

Is Honolulu Rail Project’s Future At Stake In Dispute Over Council’s Budget Role?

October 2015

Wednesday, October 21

City Budget Committee Mulls Tougher Line, Possible Cap on Rail Spending

Honolulu Rail’s Big Cash Problem

Thursday, October 15

HART Board Waiting on Honolulu City Council for Rail Cash

September 2015

Friday, September 11

Honolulu Rail Consultant Under Ethics Probe for Boat Trip with Contractor

August 2015

Thursday, August 20

Key Rail Contractor Tangled Up in Fraud Allegations in Hawaii Courts

June 2015

Thursday, June 11

Rail Operating Costs: A Looming Financial Crisis That Will Cost Taxpayers Billions

May 2015

Friday, May 15

Robert ‘Bobby’ Bunda Stepping Down from HART Board

Wednesday, May 13

Inside the Rail Checkbook: More than $1 Billion Spent but Few Details to Go Along With It

Tuesday, May 5

Honolulu Rail Tax Extension Clears the Legislature

Council Chair: No ‘Easy Sell’ for Honolulu Rail Tax

April 2015

Wednesday, April 22

Civil Beat Poll: Most Voters Oppose Honolulu Rail Tax Extension

Thursday, April 16

Now You Can Watch HART Meetings In Your Pajamas

Monday, April 13

Secret Subcontractors: What Honolulu Rail Officials Aren’t Telling You

Tuesday, April 7

Senators Give Honolulu Rail ‘A Great Deal of Opportunity’

Monday, April 6

Is Ige On Board With Extending Honolulu Rail Tax?

Wednesday, April 1

Tension Bubbles Between Honolulu City Council and HART

March 2015

Monday, March 30

Railing Against Honolulu’s $6 Billion Rail Project

Lawmakers to Hold Community Town Hall Meeting on Rail

Honolulu Rail: Big Questions Demand a Legislative Special Session

Wednesday, March 25

Frequent Fliers: Nearly $500K Spent on Rail Travel to Date

Wednesday, March 4

Math Problem: Does Honolulu Rail GET Shortfall Really Add Up?

Tuesday, March 3

Honolulu Rail Construction Proposals Millions Higher Than Expected

February 2015

Wednesday, February 11

HART: Rail Could Run Out of Cash By This Summer

Monday, February 2

Large Rail Contractors Dump $1.3 Million into Local Campaign Coffers

January 2015

Friday, January 30

At Least $1.25B Has Been Spent on Rail So Far, But Where Has All the Money Gone?

Thursday, January 22

Honolulu Rail Deficit Could Be Closer to $1 Billion

November 2014

Thursday, November 27

The Projector: Pre-holiday Food Bank, UH Football and Where Rail Meets Highway

September 2014

Monday, September 15

County Councils Agree to Lobby State for More Hotel Tax Revenue

November 2012

Monday, November 19

FTA Says It Will Sign $1.55 Billion Deal For Honolulu Rail Project

September 2012

Wednesday, September 12

Where Is Honolulu Rail’s Federal Funding?

July 2012

Wednesday, July 11

Honolulu Rail PR Contractors Whacked

June 2012

Thursday, June 28

Updated Rail Finance Plan Part of Formal Federal Funding Request

Thursday, June 7

Race To The Finish For Federal Rail Money

Filipino PR Flap Enflames Rail Talks

April 2012

Friday, April 13

New Rail Chief Sees Himself as Intermediary Between Council, Feds

Honolulu Council Keeps Rail Budget Intact

March 2012

Tuesday, March 27

Line of Credit ‘Big Piece’ Outstanding in Federal Rail Funding

Wednesday, March 7

Are Honolulu Rail Backers’ New Radio Ads Accurate?

Thursday, March 1

Civil Beat Poll – Honolulu Rail Authority Hasn’t Won Voters’ Confidence

February 2012

Wednesday, February 29

Off the Beat: What About the Mayor’s Calls for Transparency?

Monday, February 27

New Honolulu Rail Chief Was Late, Over Budget on His Biggest Project

Friday, February 24

HART Taps New Rail Chief: Grabauskas from Boston

Thursday, February 16

Time to Get Serious About Rail Conversation

Friday, February 10

Just How Deep Will Honolulu Rail’s Debt Be?

Monday, February 6

Feds Green Light Honolulu Rail Construction

Thursday, February 2

Does Line-of-Credit Rail Plan Leave Honolulu Taxpayers on Hook?

January 2012

Friday, January 27

Off The Beat: So Much For Independent Rail

Money In The Bank Or ‘Bells and Whistles’ If Honolulu Rail Costs Less?

Emergency Rail Plan: Taxpayers Have Our Back

Friday, January 20

Cayetano: Rail A Wall of Concrete Snaking Along Honolulu’s Waterfront

Thursday, January 19

Cayetano: I’m Not a One-Issue Anti-Rail Candidate

Wednesday, January 18

Honolulu Officials Unlikely To Try To Extend Rail Tax

What Does the FTA Want From Honolulu Rail?

Wednesday, January 11

Could Honolulu’s Mayor Stop Rail Project?

Thursday, January 5

Honolulu to Feds: OK Rail Work Or Costs Rise $100M

December 2011

Friday, December 30

Feds OK Final Rail Design Work, But Demand Stronger Financial Plan

Carrie Okinaga’s New Gig: First Hawaiian Lawyer

November 2011

Tuesday, November 29

HART Signs $1.4 Billion Contract With Ansaldo

Saturday, November 26

What Convinced Honolulu Rail Officials That Ansaldo Could Do The Job?

Thursday, November 17

HART Will Delay Ansaldo Contract

October 2011

Tuesday, October 25

‘Intermodal Pete’ and the Tale of Two Bus Stations

Thursday, October 13

HART: Full Steam Ahead For Ansaldo Rail Contract

Friday, October 7

Rail Price Drops Again In New Draft Financial Plan

September 2011

Thursday, September 29

Contract Dispute Moves From Court Room To City Council Chambers

Wednesday, September 14

Honolulu Rail Agreed to Pay Lobbyist $300,000

Thursday, September 8

Civil Beat Catches Rail Leaders Trying to Go ‘Deep Undercover’ in Washington

What We Learned From the Ansaldo Teleconference

Inside Honolulu: September 8 – LIVE BLOG – HART Questions Ansaldo

Friday, September 2

Honolulu Rail Authority Follows Abercrombie Secrecy Doctrine

Mayor: Foes ‘Hostile to Rail’ Deliberately Misleading the Public

August 2011

Friday, August 26

Honolulu Rail Asks Losing Bidder to Extend Offer — Just In Case

Saturday, August 20

New Twist in Case Against Ansaldo — Lack of License

Thursday, August 18

HART Uses Kid Gloves on Controversial Rail Contract

Monday, August 15

State Rejects Sumitomo Appeal, Clears Path for Honolulu Rail

Friday, August 12

VIDEO — Newsmaker: Talk Live With Honolulu Transportation Director Wayne Yoshioka

Thursday, August 11

Now Driving Honolulu’s Money Train: Don Horner

Thursday, August 4

HART Can’t Get Ansaldo Money Answers — Yet

July 2011

Friday, July 22

Recent Rail Tax Revenues a Pleasant Surprise for City

Saturday, July 16

Is HART Board Member’s Link to Biggest Rail Landowner a Conflict?

Saturday, July 2

HART Convenes, Adopts Budget, Won’t Sue Council

June 2011

Monday, June 27

Council Overrides HART Vetoes; Next Stop, Court?