The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) was able to chop millions of dollars off its budget mostly by making staff cuts.
Honolulu’s city auditor just released the second part of a report on HART spending. The agency has been under fire in recent years due to a light-rail system that sits unfinished and project cost overruns.
The report shows $246 million is savings due to staffing changes. The HART staff went from 115 employees to 52 during a two-year period. Consultants were dropped from 19 to six as the agency used more employees to fill consultant-related tasks. Three of the top four HART positions are now city employees, which also led to the cut in payroll.
The Mauka shift also is saving big money. HART decided the guideway would be built on the mountain side of Dillingham Boulevard instead of the ocean side. The move saved on utility relocation costs, reduced the project schedule, reduced the need for contingency funds, and required fewer studies and consultants. A total of $165 million was saved.
City auditor recommendations from the report include creating a better management system, changes in procedure, and document tracking. An internal audit system also has been created.