City council considers lifting rail tax cap

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With state lawmakers being asked to keep the rail tax going, the Honolulu City Council is taking steps to make sure that extra money is actually spent on rail.

Right now, there’s a cap on the amount of rail tax dollars that can be allotted to the project: $4.8 billion.

The council must now decide whether to lift that cap to prevent anything above that from being spent elsewhere.

“When my constituents on the Leeward Coast voted for the rail tax, they were promised that their money that was being taken from their family would not be used for anything else but to build rail, and that is what was told to them,” said Councilwoman Kymberly Marcos Pine. “The previous legislation does the opposite. ‘Let’s use this money for whatever we want,’ for affordable housing, and that is just simply wrong and illegal.”

The city is seeking an extension on the rail tax because the project could now cost up to $10 billion.

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