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Caldwell asks lawmakers to extend rail tax

    Yellow construction equipment stood out against a cloudy sky Friday as an overpass for the city’s rail line took shape along the H-1 freeway in the Wai­pahu area.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is telling state lawmakers that the city needs more money to finish building Oahu’s rail transit project.

Caldwell asked lawmakers Monday to lift the time limit on a part of the general excise tax that goes to rail. The tax expires in 2022.

Caldwell says the project has cost $5.2 billion, and the cost is growing.

Republican Sen. Sam Slom asked Caldwell what the project would eventually cost. Caldwell said he doesn’t have a new estimate because contracts are out for bid.

Senate President Donna Mercado Kim is questioning operational costs. She says consultants on the mainland are freeloading on the system.

Protesters held signs that read “live within your means” and “Just say ‘no’ to rail tax extension.”

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