- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 5, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - A tax to fund Oahu’s planned rail transit project could be extended under a plan approved by the Hawaii Legislature.

Both chambers approved a bill Tuesday that would extend a half-percent surcharge on the state general excise tax for an additional five years.

The tax was set to expire in 2022, but with the extension would continue until 2027. The rapid transit project is facing an estimated $900 million shortfall.

The bill also would allow counties besides Oahu to increase their general excise tax by a half-percent from 2018 to 2022 to fund transportation projects.

Republican Sen. Sam Slom says the taxpayers are getting fleeced again.

The proposal now goes to Gov. David Ige who has questioned why the tax needs to be extended now.

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