Hanabusa turns down pricey HART consultant contract; mayor appoints her to rail board

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 6:08 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa is turning down a large contract with HART that raised eyebrows and will instead serve on the rail project’s board.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced his decision to appoint Hanabusa to the board on Tuesday. She will fill a vacancy left by Glenn Nohara, who told the mayor Monday that he intends to resign.

HART board members serve as volunteers.

Hanabusa’s $216,000 consultant contract with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation drew concern given the project’s ongoing financial woes.

But in a news conference, Hanabusa and the mayor brushed off potential problems with the optics.

“There’s nothing face-saving here,” Blangiardi said. “It’s my desire to finally have a voice with HART. I am inspired by her decision to continue to serve.”

Hanabusa previously served on the HART board.

She was only one to bid for the HART’s consultant contract, but said Tuesday she didn’t know that when she applied. She added that she did everything above board.

“It is really an honor and a privilege to follow Glenn and also to accept this appointment,” she said.

Hanabusa will join the board as the rail project faces a growing budget shortfall. In recent days, Blangiardi has acknowledged that HART is unlikely to get to Ala Moana Center as planned.

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