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New rail board will not sue City Council over budget

By Gene Park

LAST UPDATED: 11:35 a.m. HST, Jul 1, 2011

There will not be a lawsuit over who has authority over the budget of the newly established Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation's budget, according to board members who were sworn in today. 

The eight voting board members decided to adopt the City Council's operating budget of $20.5 million, and will submit appropriation requests to the City Council any time the budget  includes revenues from the city. 

The mayor and the City Council disagreed over what the charter amendment that created the board intended. The City Council maintained that it should retain oversight over appropriations.

"Legal action is clearly not in the best interest of the taxpayers, and I am confident we can work with City Council and the administration in providing budget oversight," said Don Horner, chairman of the authority's finance committee.

Former city Corporation Counsel Carrie Okinaga was appointed chairwoman, and Ivan Lui-Kwan was selected as vice chairman. 

Toru Hamayasu, who has led the city's Rapid Transit Division, was selected as interim executive director of the agency. As of today, all employees of the Rapid Transit Division now fall under the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. 

The other members are William "Buzz" Hong, Keslie Hui, Damien Kim, state Department of Transportation Director Glenn Okimoto and city Department of Transportation Services Director Wayne Yoshioka. City Planning and Permitting Director David Tanoue is a nonvoting member, and the board is in the process of selecting a ninth voting member. 

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