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Rail tax surcharge collections running ahead of projections

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 10:28 p.m. HST, Jan 23, 2012

The half-percent excise tax surcharge levied on Oahu residents and visitors has brought in more than $810 million so far to fund the Honolulu rail project, with collections continuing to run ahead of projections, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation said Monday.

HART received $49.02 million in general excise tax revenue for the three months ending on Dec. 31, which was $12.08 million more than projected in the financial plan for the rail project.

The half-percent excise surcharge took effect in January 2007, and is set to expire at the end of 2022. In all, the tax surcharge is expected to provide more than $3.15 billion for the 20-mile rail project, which is projected to cost $5.27 billion.

The rest of the funding for rail is supposed to come from the federal government. The city is seeking up to $1.55 billion in New Starts construction funding from the Federal Transit Administration, and hopes to secure a final commitment for that funding this fall. Another $244 million for the rail project is being sought through federal Urbanized Area Formula Funding grants.

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