Pacific Business News (Honolulu)
BYLINE: Mark Abramson
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation now has some heavy hitters in the controversial rail transit project’s corner – at least more publicly – with the recent formation of Move Oahu Forward.
Its members read like a “who’s who” of the Hawaiian corporate landscape with names like co-chairs Constance Lau, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. (NYSE: HE)and Richard Dahl, president and CEO of the James Campbell Co.
Its other members include: David Carey, president and CEO of Outrigger Enterprises Group; Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines (Nasdaq: HA); Robert Harrison, president and CEO of First Hawaiian Bank; Peter Ho, chairman, president and CEO of Bank of Hawaii (NYSE: BOH); Stan Kuriyama, president and CEO of Alexander & Baldwin Inc. (NYSE: ALEX); Duncan MacNaughton, chairman of The MacNaughton Group; Michele Saito, president of Farmers Insurance Hawaii; Chuck Sted, president and CEO of Hawaii Pacific Health; Art Ushijima, president and CEO of The Queen’s Health Systems and Eric Yeaman, president and CEO of Hawaiian Telcom (Nasdaq: HCOM) .
According to a release from the new organization, its mission is “to educate Oahu residents on the benefits that rail transit will bring to our community.”
The politicians for and against the $5.17 billion rail project have been doing plenty to educate Oahu’s residents on rail already with their own slants by holding press conferences releasing so-called scandalous emails and giving fiery speeches.
But right now, despite all the talk of the construction starting, who knows when, on the elevated guideway, whether rail ever starts operating depends on a lawsuit and an election involving one of the opponents’ own heavy hitters, former Gov. Ben Cayetano. The former governor is running for mayor to stop rail and is one of the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit, which has been upheld so far.
But lawsuit or no lawsuit, rail is turning into a clash of the titans.
Copyright 2012 American City Business Journal, Inc.
All Rights Reserved