State Lawmakers React To Caldwelll's Request To Extend Rail Tax

Hawaii lawmakers took turns hammering Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Monday over his request to let the county continue charging a half-percent surcharge on the General Excise Tax to fund the city’s rail project.

The 20-mile, 21-station project is now estimated to come in up to $910 million over its $5.2 billion budget, spurring the mayor to ask the Legislature to make the surcharge permanent instead of letting it sunset as planned in 2022.

“I’m here because I think it’s the last resort,” Caldwell told a panel of House and Senate lawmakers during a three-plus-hour briefing at the Capitol. “I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

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