Rail at the Airport, Part 2: Who Was Responsible?
Editor's note: This article is the second in a three-part series examining why Honolulu's proposed rail line had to be shifted at Honolulu International Airport, who was responsible and how much it will cost taxpayers. Read the overview here.
Even if you give city officials the benefit of the doubt that they weren't warned that the route of the train at Honolulu International Airport was too close to the runways, it's undisputed that the problem was not identified by rail planners until after the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIS) had been published. That was years after initial planning work had begun.
Leading rail opponents — former Gov. Ben Cayetano, former judge Walter Heen, law professor Randy Roth and businessman Cliff Slater — characterize the episode as a "glaring mistake." They said city Department of Transportation Services Director Wayne Yoshioka didn't identify the responsible party because of close relationships with two of the city's main rail contractors — Parsons Brinckerhoff and InfraConsult.
Their letter to Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle and members of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) board of directors points out that Yoshioka is a former Parsons Brinckerhoff employee; that his wife still works for the company; and that InfraConsult, tasked with overseeing Parsons Brinckerhoff's work, was formed by three former Parsons Brinckerhoff employees.