Bunda a curious choice for transit authority

The plan of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to appoint former state Sen. Robert Bunda as its final voting member is baffling.

Previous appointments to HART by Mayor Peter Carlisle and the City Council were politically connected people with zero experience running a commuter rail system.

No personal knock on Bunda, who was a decent legislator, but to fail to fill the void in transit expertise with the final appointment and instead name a veteran politician makes a mockery of the intended purpose of HART to take politics out of the running of the city’s $5.3 million rail project.

Making matters worse, the transit authority is refusing to reveal the names of the 16 applicants for the job so that the public can judge for itself whether Bunda was the most appropriate choice.

It seems that every time those overseeing rail have an opportunity to reassure the public that the project is being run on the up and up, they do the opposite.

It bodes ill for the most important appointment before the board — executive director — for which HART is supposedly undertaking a nationwide search to fill the vital post held on an interim basis by Toru Hamayasu.

HART will hear public testimony and make a final decision on the Bunda appointment Sept. 16.

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5 Comments on “Bunda a curious choice for transit authority”

  1. Richard Gozinya Says:

    You’d think that random chance alone would result in someone being put on the HART board who actually knows something about trains. I tell ya, if we just add some dancing dogs we’d have a circus.

  2. hipoli Says:

    Really, Dave? Thats the extent of the dot-connecting youre going to do here? Could there be any possible link(s) between Bunda and the Council?

    ‘Behind Every Man is a Smarter Woman.’ Thats especially true in this case, Im guessing.

  3. zzzzzing Says:

    @ Richard Gozinya: I have an aversion to clowns…

    A rail transit board with no rail transit experience… only in Hawaii, eh? It’s astounding they’re getting away with not revealing the 16 applicants, too.

    There are other news sources who go much further in calling out the ludicrousness of Bunda being selected for the Transit board. At least, except for the SAd, they’re in agreement that Bunda is a poor choice, to say the least, for HART.

  4. Kolea Says:

    I guess I’m surprised anyone is surprised. The HART Train project was controlled from the beginning by a political-economic consortium of First Hawaiian Bank, developers, building trade unions and the politicians employed by them to make sure it happened. Contractors, engineeers and PR people hoping to get a piece of the action attached themselves to it early on.

    People with real transit experience are not essential to the task of the moment, which is to make sure the project stays alive and gets built in the face of growing challenges. Bobby Bunda is a reliable member of the team.

    But maybe some folks still have illusions this is about having an efficient mass transit system? Maybe Bunda’s appointment helps clarify things for them?

  5. At Kolea: Excellent point!

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