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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Transit tax down 14% in Jan.

Advertiser Staff

Tax collections to pay for Honolulu's planned $5.3 billion rail-transit system fell 14 percent in January to $11 million, based on figures released by the state Department of Taxation.

That was down from $12.8 million in January 2009 and below city expectations of about $13.7 million a month from the surcharge implemented in January 2007. Through the first seven months of the fiscal year, transit-tax collections are down 1.5 percent to $91.7 million compared with the same period a year earlier.

Through the first seven months of this fiscal year, collections are averaging about $13.1 million a month. That means the city may not raise a revised transit tax target of $164 million during fiscal 2010, which ends June 30.

The city had initially projected raising $198 million during the current fiscal year; however, that forecast was reduced last year when the slowing economy took a toll on transit-tax collections.

State tax collections overall have fallen amid declining visitor arrivals and rising unemployment. However, city officials have said they expect lower transit-tax collections to be offset by lower construction costs and a future economic rebound.

Construction on the transit system was supposed to start last month, but has been delayed by an ongoing review by federal agencies.