The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation unanimously voted to approve Daniel Grabauskas as the agency's executive director and chief executive officer.
Grabauskas beat out 150 applicants for the job.
He will head the semiautonomous agency that is responsible for the construction of the city's $5.2 billion, 20-mile rail transit system.
Grabauskas has a 3-year contract with an annual salary of $245,000, a $36,000 housing allowance and $6,000 a year for transportation.
He is also eligible for $35,000 in performance bonuses each year.
Grabauskas was in charge of the country's oldest and fifth largest public transit system as general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
His largest construction project in Boston was reported to be 30 percent over budget and one year late when he joined the effort.
"I came into that. We were able to negotiate with Ansaldo in 2005. They made some corrective actions," Grabauskas said.
Ansaldo has a $1.3 billion contract with the city to design, build and operate the trains in Honolulu's transit system.
Grabauskas said he intends to have on-site presence with Ansaldo as it constructs Honolulu's rail project.