The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board will lose its longest-tenured member at the end of the month.

Retired Hawaiian Airlines executive Hoyt Zia delivered his resignation letter last week, HART board Chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa announced at the group’s virtual meeting Thursday. 

Further, the board is poised to lose an additional member soon, Hanabusa said, although she didn’t specify who. 

Zia joined the board in May 2017 and had just been re-appointed last year by then-mayor Kirk Caldwell to a term that expires in 2025. Now, Mayor Rick Blangiardi will have to appoint a replacement. 

HART Board Member Hoyt Zia.
Hoyt Zia will leave the HART board at the end of the month. He’s currently the group’s longest-tenured member. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2019

In a phone interview Thursday, Zia lamented what he described as the changing nature of the local volunteer oversight board.

“It used to be a pleasure getting together because of the collegiality that we shared on the board — not always agreeing, but agreeing to disagree,” he said. “The board to that extent has changed a lot and is no longer a pleasure to serve. I’ve added as much value as I could, and (it’s) time for someone else to come in and hopefully add more value.”

In the past year or so, Zia sometimes clashed at board meetings with two of the group’s newer members: Joe Uno and Kika Bukoski. Uno was replaced earlier this year when his term expired.

Zia’s departure is the latest in a pattern of turnover at HART, which was created just over a decade ago. None of the agency’s original board members remain.

During his tenure, Zia saw HART, under former Executive Director Andy Robbins, pursue an ambitious public-private partnership to complete the beleaguered transit project and then operate it over 30 years. That effort imploded, however, as Robbins and his staff clashed with city leaders over utility-relocation plans and initial bids to finish construction came in about $1 billion over budget.

Zia also served as the board’s interim chairman for one meeting this past summer, during which he issued a surprise unilateral decision to change the group’s voting and quorum rules, making them less restrictive. 

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your representative to the HART board, and I remain greatly appreciative of the trust and support I enjoyed from you,” he told Blangiardi in his resignation letter.

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