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Hawaii Gov. Ige OKs tax extension to fund Honolulu rail project

Hawaii Gov. David Ige yesterday signed into law a bill that authorizes counties to extend the half-percentage surcharge on state tax that funds Honolulu's $6 billion transit-rail project.

The surcharge is now effective until Dec. 31, 2027, staffers from Ige's office said in a press release. It had been set originally to expire in 2022.

“We made a commitment years ago, and we must keep this commitment to see rail to its completion," Ige said in a prepared statement. "I, too, have concerns about cost overruns. The excise tax is an investment by the taxpayers of Hawai'i and my job is to ensure that their hard earned money is being spent efficiently, effectively and productively."

Earlier this year, bids for the construction of three rail stations came in millions of dollars higher than expected. Additionally, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) in late April reported that overall tax revenue was $30 million lower than projected.

Ige also asked HART to provide an annual report on revenue, costs and progress of the rail project.

The report will be shared with Ige's administration, the state Legislature and the general public, and will be used as a tool to guide policymakers in the future.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/16/2015