May 18, 2021


Beyond law

Colleen Hanabusa, ex-chairwoman of Honolulu rail board, will get $924,000 HART contract

Colleen Hanabusa, a previous Hawaii congresswoman and former chairwoman of the board that oversees the city’s troubled rail undertaking, was the only bidder on a deal worthy of $924,000 with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, which Hanabusa gained.

The deal hires a advisor to provide as a liaison to the Honolulu City Council, state Legislature, “Congressional Committees and correct federal and condition agencies. The chosen Offeror (expert) will offer coordination, counsel, and data to HART and will recommend and signify HART with respect to state transportation plan, laws, regulation, and state funding prospects.”

Hanabusa is a lawyer, previous condition Senate president and unsuccessful candidate for Honolulu mayor. She also served on the HART board from June 2015 to October 2016 and chaired the board from May well 2016 to Oct 2016.

Hanabusa’s contract is truly worth $216,000 for the initially 18 months,
with a 7.7% raise in “Option Year 2” and a second increase of 7.1% in the last 12 months for an aggregate overall of $924,000 around 6 many years, HART spokesman Joey Manahan reported.

Hanabusa’s contract is tentatively scheduled to go into impact on Friday, according to the primary request for proposal.

Hanabusa did not promptly
answer to a Honolulu Star-
Advertiser ask for for remark
on the deal Wednesday.

Hanabusa’s agreement came as a shock to many HART board users on Wednesday, even though some claimed they are not often notified of new guide contracts.

It also adopted Friday’s announcement to the board by Lori Kahikina, HART’s interim CEO and executive director, that she was cutting prices by letting an unspecified range of consultants go, along with dismissing 48 of 112 HART employees.

HART faces a deficit of $3.577 billion with no effortless approach for plugging it.

Hanabusa’s deal raises concerns about both of those HART’s shelling out priorities and the propriety of selecting a previous HART board chairwoman, claimed HART board member Natalie Iwasa, a accredited public accountant and certified fraud examiner.

“As far as perceptions, there are likely to be people who are anxious about that, offered she was a HART chair and a HART board member,” Iwasa explained. “As a certified fraud examiner, we also seem at whether or not there was insider details.”

But Hanabusa’s political qualifications and ties also could be an asset, Iwasa reported.

“She understands the technique at each the federal stage and state level,” Iwasa claimed.

Board member Joe Uno, who operates his personal design price tag consulting organization, said it would not be a shock that HART’s ask for for a new advisor was written for Hanabusa, a key player in the generation of Act 1 that established up the funding mechanism to fund the rail challenge, which has now mushroomed to a price tag of $12.449 billion and is not scheduled for completion for yet another 10 decades.

“You never have to be a genius to figure this one out,” Uno reported. “They wrote that RFP (ask for for proposal) close to her. Who’s shocked about that? Individual provider contracts are published like that all the time. I never want to make a mountain of a molehill.”

Considering the fact that late very last yr and yet again in February, the HART board has been discussing employing a marketing consultant or consultants to assistance HART on problems together with operating with federal officials in Washington, D.C., and to suggest the board on how a lot of votes are essential to eliminate proposals.

Uno claimed the charge of Hanabusa’s contract could pay off if she generates new resources of funding.

“She’s the architect of Act 1,” Uno claimed. “If there was any individual in the entire world who could resurrect and reprieve Act 1 it would be Colleen. … We have to have somebody to assistance determine out the political landscape.”