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Caldwell hires veteran rail expert as HART overseer

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Michael Burns

A veteran public transit expert has been hired by the city to oversee the $6 billion rail project, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Wednesday.

Michael Burns, over a 40-year career, has worked on transit projects in Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco and Santa Clara. He is currently an independent consultant based out of San Francisco.

Caldwell said Burns will offer an independent, "new set of eyes" on the largest, and most expensive public works project in Hawaii history. Burns’ job will be to review and evaluate the 20-mile rail project and the operations of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation from a "big picture" standpoint, Caldwell said.

The city has set aside $95,000 this year to hire Burns, although he will be paid on an hourly schedule. 

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