Honolulu lawmakers discuss funding options to complete light rail project

Posted on August 16, 2017

Rendering of HART railcar.
Rendering of HART railcar.

HONOLULU — Two weeks before the legislature is set to meet in a special session to provide a method of funding for Honolulu’s beleaguered light rail project, state lawmakers conducted a joint legislative hearing, resulting in no consensus for any one of the possible solutions suggested, Hawai’i Public Radio reports.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the City suggest extending the General Excise Tax surcharge to raise the approximately $2.5 billion needed to complete the project, however, the House Finance Committee Chair said a 10-year extension would result in a cash surplus, before suggesting using a hotel room tax, Transient Accommodations Tax, or both, could save taxpayers billions in finance charges.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has a September 15 deadline to submit its financial plan to the Federal Transit Administration. During the hearing, Interim HART Executive Director/CEO Krishniah Murthy said the agency is not looking at any other sources of funding, besides those already suggested, to be complete the project at this time. For the full story, click here.

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