New Honolulu Rail Chief Talks a Good Game

Lena Tran/Civil Beat

Honolulu's rail project is on the ropes.

Public opinion polls show people have turned against the project. Even the anti-rail candidate in the Honolulu mayoral race, Ben Cayetano, is faring better than rail supporters, incumbent Mayor Peter Carlisle and challenger Kirk Caldwell. Combined.

Enter Dan Grabauskas, a veteran of transit management and political skirmishes from Boston.

He's confident, articulate and savvy, too. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is counting on him to derail the growing criticism and get public sentiment on a more favorable track.

How he'll do at that assignment remains to be seen. But he seems off to a good start, at least when it comes to public relations. Grabauskas spent more than two hours at Civil Beat's office last week, chatting easily and intelligently about how he sees Honolulu, its problems, its future and how rail fits into that larger picture.

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