For years, Natalie Iwasa has attended Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board meetings. She often testifies on items, particularly those involving finances, and she’s even pointed out errors in the agency’s reports from time to time.

Now, the certified public accountant and frequent critic of the transit project known by many as “Bike Mom” will be joining the HART board.

Iwasa will fill one of the Hawaii Legislature’s four non-voting seats. House Speaker Scott Saiki announced the appointment earlier this week.

Candidate Natalie Iwasa's campaign cleanup of a property along Kapahulu Ave /Winam Street.
Natalie Iwasa, pictured here during her 2018 campaign for City Council, will join the HART board. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2018

“The City and County of Honolulu’s rail project poses a significant financial concern and there must be more scrutiny over HART decision-making,” Saiki said in a statement Monday. “Ms. Iwasa is an independent, critical thinker who is knowledgeable and who has formed her own opinions on HART and mass transit. Ms. Iwasa’s official engagement on the Board will ensure increased accountability and transparency at HART.”

Iwasa’s seat opened up when Lynn McCrory, a former House appointee, filled a voting seat on the board that had opened up. The two House and two Senate seats were created as part of the 2017 rail bailout package, valued at some $2.4 billion.

The goal was to provide the Legislature with more direct oversight of the project, although expanding the board to 15 total seats has also caused occasional quorum and voting issues for the body.

Iwasa’s term will run indefinitely.

Help power our public service journalism

As a local newsroom, Civil Beat has a unique public service role in times of crisis.

That’s why we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content, so we can get vital information out to everyone, from all communities.

We are deploying a significant amount of our resources to covering the Maui fires, and your support ensures that we can pivot when these types of emergencies arise.

Make a gift to Civil Beat today and help power our nonprofit newsroom.

About the Author