From HART Weekly e-Blast, August 17, 2017
HART BACKS "ECONOMIC & EFFICIENCY" AUDITS
During presentations to both State and City lawmakers this week, HART leaders expressed both their approval of and full commitment to participate in any audits that are proposed for the organization.
In a Honolulu City Council Budget Committee meeting, Member Trevor Ozawa introduced a resolution that asked for an "economic and efficiency" audit that among other action items, would examine the "...reasons for the Rail Project's cost overruns...so that the HART Board can take actions to address these issues."
HART's Executive Director Krishniah Murthy said, "Audits of any public works project are important to ensure public confidence in that project." Chief Financial Officer Robert Yu also told lawmakers that, "We (HART) will comply fully with any audits" that are proposed and that "I, too, agree that audits are of significant value, especially in a project as extensive as the Honolulu Rail Project."
The Budget Committee unanimously passed the resolution and will send it before the full Council for final consideration.
In the Legislative meeting, HART made a presentation to the Senate committees on Transportation & Energy, Public Safety, Intergovernmental & Military Affairs, and Ways & Means. HART also made presentations to the House Transportation Committee and the House Finance Committee. In the presentation, HART once again expressed its full approval of and commitment to participate in any proposed audits.
HART is already subject to regularly mandated economic and performance audits as well as audits conducted by the Federal Transit Administration. The Authority is also periodically evaluated through a series of independent peer reviews, all of which, has received full and complete participation by HART officials.
City Auditor Edwin Young told the Council's Budget Committee they could expect a full "economic and efficiency" audit of HART to be completed within 12 to 18 months.
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HART DIRECTORS CONSIDER VIABILITY OF PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS TO ASSIST RAIL FUNDING
At its regularly scheduled August meeting, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation's Board of Directors discussed using public-private partnerships to help fund the remaining elements of Honolulu's Rail Transit Project. The investment management company, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), recently conducted a detailed assessment of such potential partnerships.
The assessment was undertaken to help HART and its Board continue in its efforts to deliver the remaining segments of the Project in the timeliest and most cost-effective manner possible.
HART's Executive Director Krishniah Murthy told the Board that public-private partnerships have been examined for some time but to date, no agreements have been forged that would provide benefits and/or protections to taxpayers. Mr.
Murthy also added that currently, HART continues to examine the prospect of entering into a public-private partnership to help fund the Rail Project.
While HART's management team endeavors to review any and all options in regard to funding the Rail Project in the most efficient manner possible, its Board is delving further into the JLL assessment.