Honolulu Rail: A First Class Section suggested by new COO David Uchiyama?

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The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transport  (HART) is overlooking the most time consuming, most money-eating projects every undertaken in the U.S. State of Hawaii. Fist started with a 6 billion dollar project in 2006, in 2019 this number went to 10 billion and it will be another 6 years before it will be operational to transport Hawaiian residents and visitors on a 20-mile long rail-link spanning 21 stations from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Shopping Center in Honolulu.  The new man in charge was named.



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David Uchiyama is a man with many jobs in a short time. A true example of the still very active Good Old Boy network that has ruled the Hawaii business industry since Statehood and before.

In 2006 when  HART just started David Uchiyama served as vice president of sales and marketing for Hawaii Gas. After this, he became vice president of brand management for the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) from 2007 to 2015.  He was in charge of international marketing for the State’s largest industry.

In 2017 Uchiyama was fined $2,500.00 by State regulators what some said was a bribery attempt by airlines. The offense: Uchiyama along with other top leaders of HTA asked for an upgrade to first class on business trips when he worked for the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

After a short time as a regional director of communication for Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Hawaii and French Polynesia, Uchiyama got in the airline business.

In April 2016, Uchiyama took over as CEO of  Island Air after it was sold by billionaire Larry Ellison to local investors. Uchiyama guided the airline into bankruptcy in November 2017 opening the doors for Hawaiian Airlines to become the only choice for interisland air traffic at that time.

About one year after interisland carrier Island Air abruptly ceased operations the airline’s former CEO David Uchiyama has taken an executive role with Roberts Hawaii, the state’s largest tour and transportation company.

It’s not clear why Uchiyama left Roberts Hawaii just some short months later. The local tour company has many reasons to be part of the good old boy network, so the reason why Uchiyama was hired in a leading position and left months later may never surface.

Last week 61 years old David H. Uchiyama was named the first Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Honolulu Rail Authority (HART).

By the time rail is fully operational it will be time for Uchiyama to retire.

Perhaps Uchiyama legacy will be for the most expensive rail system in the United States to offer a first-class compartment.  Fellow “Good Old Boy” network members in Hawaii like his former boss Mike Mc Cartney may enjoy this.

McCartney was recently confirmed as the Director of the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. (DBET) after serving as Chief of Staff for Hawaii Governor Ige, and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the head of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, the Teachers Association, and a PBS radio/TV host.


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