Associated Press
Thursday, January 5, 2017

HONOLULU (AP) - Honolulu City Council members are asking the state to allow the tax for Oahu’s multibillion-dollar rail project to cover operating costs as well as affordable housing efforts.

Councilors Joey Manahan and Ikaika Anderson introduced a bill Wednesday that calls for an indefinite extension of the 0.5 percent rail tax. The tax is currently set to expire in 10 years, Hawaii News Now reported ( ).

If extended, the bill proposes that the rail tax revenue could be used to cover operating deficits and infrastructure to support affordable housing projects along the rail line.

“If the Legislature decides that they want us to use it for other things then absolutely; but I think the priority for us in this city is really building out the 20 miles, 21 stations,” Manahan said.

State law limits the use of rail tax collections to rail construction and a 10-percent state administrative fee.

The bill also seeks to get rid of a $4.8 billion cap placed on rail tax revenue that was imposed by the Legislature two years ago. That number would be in conflict with the rail project’s total estimated cost of $8.2 billion.

Manahan and Anderson’s proposal is expected to go before state lawmakers next week.

Anderson said the city should be ready to work openly with the state on plans for the project.

“I think the council needs to entertain all options that the Legislature puts in front of us and not be closed-minded to anything,” Anderson said.


Information from: KGMB-TV,

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