City Council moves forward on plans to extend rail tax - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

City Council moves forward on plans to extend rail tax

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Honolulu City Council took another step Wednesday toward adding five more years to the Honolulu rail tax surcharge.

The Council Budget Committee passed a measure to extend the tax to 2027. The issue is now headed to the full council.

The measure still limits how much of the tax revenue can be used. But the cap was raised to a level rail officials said was acceptable.

Meanwhile, the rail chairman found another way to anger council members by opening the door to putting a future rail route at ground level.

Rail supporters have long argued that having an entirely elevated system was the best way to keep trains running and avoid impacts on traffic and potential collisions.

But on Wednesday, talking about how the system might one day extend to the university, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Chairman Don Horner said it might go up Piikoi Street at grade.

A HART spokeswoman said any discussion about a university segment is preliminary because there has been no official planning yet beyond Ala Moana.

Meanwhile, the city finance director said if property taxes were used to subsidize operating the system it would require a nine percent across-the-board increase. That's about $90 million.

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