City hires rail consultant

City hires rail consultant

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is hoping a new perspective can help HART.

"He'll be coming in with a fresh set of eyes and looking over what HART is doing and reporting back not just to me as mayor, but the council and people."

'HE' is Michael Burns, who has just been retained as an independent consultant on rail. He comes to Hawaii with over 40 years of experience in public transportation.

"I've worked in both the public and private sector.  I've worked for four public transit agencies, Boston, Philly, SF, and SJ.  I've worked in virtually every aspect of rail transportation," said Burns at an introductory press conference.

Quell the images of Burns walking down a rail guideway.  He'll be doing his work from a desk, filing quarterly reports on the project.  He won't even be in Hawaii a lot of the time.

"I'll be reviewing reports prepared by HART, prepared by the FTA, prepared by the project oversight consultant.  A lot of this work will be done in SF, over the phone," he said.

"Really big picture, and then based on his expertise, he lets us know where you need to go deeper," described Director of Transportation Services, Mike Formby.

Burns' contract is for one year at 95 thousand dollars.  It'll come from the Department of Transportation Services' budget.  The mayor says it'll be well worth it.

"I think it's a small investment, really small--but the rewards can be tremendous."

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