Senator criticizes rail leadership, saying state should take control of the project

The rail cars conduct testing earlier this year.
The rail cars conduct testing earlier this year.(HART/File)
Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 8:01 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After several recent controversies at the rail board, the state legislature’s minority leader is calling for another federal investigation.

Senator Kurt Fevella wrote letters to the FBI, FTA and the State Attorney General saying rail leaders may have violated procurement laws when they tried to hire Colleen Hanabusa before accepting other applicants.

HART CEO Lori Kahikina insists they followed the rules and proceeded with caution during the process.

[Read a previous report: In offering Hanabusa a $216K contract, HART may have broken laws, critics say]

He also wants to know if board Chair Toby Martyn should face criminal charges for approving a bond sale benefiting a company he worked for.

The senator says someone other than the city should take over the project.

“I think the city should not be running the rail. I think the state should take back the rail and run it the right way” State Sen. Kurt Fevella said. “I think it should be a state process. There’s more oversight, and letting the people have trust in finishing the rail.”

A spokesperson for HART declined comment this afternoon.

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