Legislators OK rail deal

HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers are bailing out Honolulu’s financially troubled rail transit project.

The state House of Representatives passed a bill Friday to raise $2.4 billion in taxes for the commuter train.

The planned rail line is among the most expensive per capita in the nation.

The $9.5 billion system is less than half-way built and faces a shortfall up to $3 billion.

Rail officials are up against a Sept. 15 deadline from the federal government to show they can pay for the project. Without that they risk losing $1.5 billion in federal dollars.

Republican representatives introduced floor amendments to cap money going to rail and exclude neighbor islands from a hotel tax increase but these failed to pass.

The proposal passed the Senate Wednesday and now heads to Gov. David Ige for his approval.

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