HONOLULU (AP) - The chairman of the board overseeing Oahu’s $6.5 billion rail project has resigned amid concerns about excessive costs and mismanagement.
Don Horner said Monday he is resigning from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation because he does not want to be a distraction to the rail project. Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he will begin searching for Horner’s replacement immediately, Hawaii News Now reported (https://bit.ly/1S6A7tc).
“For me, it’s about looking forward,” Caldwell said. “I’m still 100 percent behind this project. It’s absolutely worth fighting for. Yes, we’ll have problems in the future. We’ll have more hurtles, but every one of those efforts is worth it.”
Horner’s resignation comes just days after Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin called for the board’s leadership to step down. Martin pointed to a draft city audit that says there is no plan in place for how the rail system would operate and be maintained. It also noted weaknesses in the board’s financial plans.
In a letter to the Caldwell Monday, Horner said that the HART board “needs an effective and constructive working relationship with both the city administration and the City Council.”
“Hopefully, by my departure, as the council chair promised, the communications and appreciation for the many accomplishments of the HART staff will indeed strengthen,” he said.
Caldwell appointed Horner, who is the former CEO of First Hawaiian Bank, to a second term on the HART board in June 2015. His term as chairman of the board was set to expire on June 30.
The rail project has continued to struggle with rising costs and city officials expect it to grow by up to another $800 million.
Martin told Hawaii News Now last week that “nobody’s arguing whether the project is a necessity or not. It’s a matter of whether we’re doing it in a responsible manner.”
Information from: KGMB-TV, https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/
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