Thursday, December 30, 2010

Improved Economy Boosts Tax Revenues for Rail

Defying doom-and-gloom predictions by the glass-half-full anti-rail set, Hawaii’s economy continues its aggressive rebound from the depths of the recession. Here are a few of this week’s nuggets highlighted by tourism figures in November compared to a year earlier:

Visitor spending surges 30.4 percent • Average daily visitor spending increases 10.5 percent • Third consecutive month of double-digit visitor spending increases on all islands • Total arrivals up 18.2 percent • Domestic arrivals jump 21 percent • Oahu arrivals up 15.7 percent • Cruise ship arrivals surge 43.5 percent • Year-to-date visitor days up 8.9 percent • Total 2010 arrivals rise 8.6 percent, to 6,450,795 • Hawaii on track for 7 million visitors in 2010.

On top of all that, the state Council on Revenues has revised its tax revenue forecast for the fiscal year ending in June and now predicts a 3-percent growth, up from September’s prediction of 2 percent.

So 2010 ends with positive economic news, positive administrative news (Governor Abercrombie’s acceptance of rail’s FEIS) and an expectation that the Federal Transit Authority will issue a Record of Decision for the project in short order.

2011 is shaping up to be a Happy New Year for Honolulu rail!

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