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Rail News: Passenger Rail

HART collects additional tax revenue for Honolulu rail project, considers cost concerns

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation will receive more than $57 million in General Excise and Use Tax (GET) revenue for fourth-quarter 2014, the agency announced in its electronic newsletter.

Combined with the receipt of $57.8 million for the months of October, November and December, the total GET revenue for the Honolulu rail project now stands at $1.4 billion. The project to build a 20-mile, 21-station light-rail system is under construction.

Last week, city officials discussed the possibility of a memorandum of understanding that would enable the issuance of as much as $350 million in bonds for short-term financing for the $5.3 billion project, the costs for which have escalated. Without the additional funding, the project could be forced to cease construction at some point, reported. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell recently wrote about the project's financial struggles in an op-ed piece in a local newspaper.

The half-percent GET surcharge dedicated to the rail system was levied starting in January 2007. The surcharge is set to expire at 2022's end. Caldwell has said he would like the state Legislature to make the surcharge permanent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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