HART board nominee approved despite questions over his experience

Anthony B. Aalto before the committee Tuesday.
Anthony B. Aalto before the committee Tuesday.(Olelo Tv)
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 3:56 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A controversial nominee to the board for the Honolulu rail system was easily approved by a council committee on Tuesday.

Anthony Aalto is a former investigative reporter, environmental activist and documentary producer.

His nomination by the city council was criticized because of his lack of experience in construction, transportation or government. But councilmembers say they aren’t looking for another expert in those areas, but rather someone to hold rail officials accountable.

“This is really why I asked you to do this and why I think you are the best qualified to do it because you ask questions, you’re inquisitive, and if you are not getting the answers, you are going to keep asking. That’s what I want you to do,” Honolulu Council Chair Tommy Waters said.

[Read a related report: As council determines whether to replace him, HART board member say he’s being ‘punished’ for his views]

Other council members dug deeper into his qualifications for the role as he stood by his willingness to take on the position.

“I believe my years of engagement and experience as an investigative reporter will allow me to actively and effectively be the eyes and ears of this council, and advocate for the taxpayers of this island for a successful and completed system that serves our communities equitably,” Anthony Aalto, rail board nominee, said.

Aalto’s nomination was approved by the transportation committee unanimously and now moves to the full council where approval is expected.

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