HAWAII

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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