Gov. David Ige signed into law HB 134 Relating to Taxation, authorizing the counties to extend by another five years, the half-percentage point surcharge on state tax to continue funding the city’s $6 billion rail transit project. The surcharge will be effective until Dec. 31, 2027.
“The primary reason I signed this bill is because we made a commitment years ago, and we must keep this commitment to see rail to its completion,” said Gov. Ige.
“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. To this end, I hereby ask Honolulu Rail Transit (HART) to provide me with an annual progress report on revenue, costs and progress of the rail project. This report will be shared with not only my administration, but with the legislature and the public, and it will be measured against specific goals and targets,” Ige said.
The annual report will be used as a tool to guide policy makers in the future to ensure the project stays on schedule and on budget, and to inform the public of the status of their investment.