HONOLULU - A new twist in the rail drama is unfolding as lawmakers prepare to meet to decide how much longer to extend the half percent excise tax .

The Senate took a position yesterday to extend the rail tax another ten years.

But when it came time to produce a conference draft-- it appears there wasn't full support for it among its members.

The Senate has now backed off its ten-year extension of the excise tax, and reduced it to seven years.

At the first conference committee meeting held Wednesday, the discussion was keep the tax in place until 2037 and to use 19 percent of the tax collected for neighbor island transportation projects.

But, the actual Senate draft transmitted to the House last night changed the date to 2034, according to the Senate Conference Committee Chairwoman.

“We were at ten years. We changed it to seven years and we have no moneys for the state transportation highways. We will stay with the one percent administration fee for the Department of Taxation,” said Sen. Lorraine Inouye.

Inouye said the Senate essentially took House version of the bill, but extended the date.

House and Senate Conferees will meet Friday morning and try and reach agreement. All fiscal bills have to be in place by Friday.

Privately, some lawmakers say if need be, the deadline could be waived, but that would require approval by the Senate President and House Speaker.   

Lawmakers generally don't like to mess with the deadlines.

But they say the last time that happened was two years ago.

The hot button issue then was medical marijuana .