‘Thank you to all of the legends’: Influential figures remembered on Skyline’s opening day

The late Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye were instrumental in the vision...
The late Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye were instrumental in the vision of Honolulu's rail project.(Hawaii News Now/file)
Published: Jun. 30, 2023 at 5:58 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A culmination worth decades of trial and tribulation, dignitaries from across the state finally celebrated the grand opening of Skyline at its Halawa Station on Friday.

During an opening ceremony, officials across the many administrations of Skyline’s development were commemorated — some of whom have passed before witnessing the fruition of the new transit system.

As a tribute, portraits of the late Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi and U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye hang at the helm of Skyline trains to honor their foresight of a mass public transit system for Honolulu.

After being elected into office in 1968, the late Mayor Frank Fasi began his term by planning the inaugural studies for a Honolulu rail project. In 1977, the mayor coined the rail project as the Honolulu Area Rapid Transit, or the “HART,” project, calling for a 29-mile route between Pearl City and Hawaii Kai.

Joyce Fasi, his widow, sat at the front seat of the Skyline train during the opening ceremony.

“I’m just blessed to be able to ride it, I wish he were, he’s a got a picture in here,” Joyce Fasi said. “But you know, he would’ve been very pleased. But it could’ve happened 50 years ago.”

Gov. Josh Green said it was amazing to have her on board on Friday.

“To have Mrs. Fasi here in the front seat is just one more special moment for us today,” Green said.

Special Section: Honolulu Rail

Another instrumental figure whose portrait was displayed in the rail train: the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, who was influential in securing federal funding for the rail project. Inouye died shortly before the City and County signed an agreement that granted $1.55 billion towards its construction.

Officially breaking ground in 2011, Skyline is preceded by an over 50-year history of Honolulu politicians proposing a rail transit line. For state politicians today, Skyline’s grand opening has meant fulfilling the legacy of Honolulu’s greats.

“Thank you to all of the legends that came before us, and that means thank you to Senator Inouye and Mayor Fasi,” Green said.