HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The mayor has selected an insurance company executive to replace Don Horner on the board overseeing Oahu's $6.5 billion rail project.
Horner, the board's chairman, resigned last week following a critical audit of the rail project.
The mayor picked Colbert Matsumoto, of Island Insurance, to fill the vacancy. Though the city stressed that it's the board, and not the mayor, who selects the body's chairman.
Matsumoto will attend his first board meeting Thursday, where a vote on who will chair the board is selected to take place. He'll serve the remainder of Horner's term, through June 30, 2020.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Matsumoto has a long history of public service – and shepherding big institutions through tough times.
"He positively helped shape Kamehameha Schools' future as the court master during their very difficult transition in the late 1990s," Caldwell said, in a news release.
"As chairman of the board of trustees of the Employees' Retirement System, he helped secure state and city workers' retirements by beginning to pay down the unfunded liability in the retirement system. Under Colbert's leadership, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii went from near bankruptcy to solvency."
Caldwell also said he expected Matsumoto to bring "much-needed transparency, accountability and oversight" to the rail project.
Matsumoto said he's looking forward to jumping into the new role.
"This is a challenging time for HART but I look forward to working with the other directors to restore public confidence in the project," Matsumoto said. "HART's role in shaping Honolulu's future needs to be responsibly undertaken with transparency and accountability by all involved. I hope to contribute to achieving that outcome."
Matsumoto is executive chairman of the board of Island Insurance. Previously, he was a lawyer for two decades.
Also Wednesday, the mayor appointed HART board member to an additional five-year term on the HART board. Her second term runs through June 30, 2021.