Oahu community members weigh in on “Road Usage Charge” proposal

News

The Hawaii Department of Transportation is thinking about switching drivers from a gas tax fee to a mileage fee, as a way to get more funding to fix our roads. 

Wednesday night was the first of many public meetings on the proposal.

With new so many people using electric vehicles or fuel efficient vehicles, the state has decided to look into a “Road Usage Charge.” Already 

Instead of paying a fuel tax, drivers would pay fees based on their amount of miles they drive.

“What we see is a longtime problem down the horizon. We’re trying to look at how can we find a revenue that is sustainable for us in the long run…” said Scot Urada with the Hawaii Department of Transportation. “If we have more alternative fuel vehicles, then our revenues start to go down.”

Right now, about a third of the money used to carry out highway projects comes from the fuel tax. 

At the moment, drivers pay a 16 cent fuel tax per gallon of gas. 

With the new Road Usage Charge, they would pay about 8/10ths of a penny per mile.

If you drive 10,000 miles, you would be paying $80.

But many drivers that make the long commute into town for work can drive that distance in a matter of weeks.
    
“You can see the frustration among these folks,” said Ina Natu, Hauula resident. “How much more do they want to bleed us for… We’ve been systematically bled little by little for every penny we have.”

House representative Sharon Har says other options need to be considered.

“Because of our distance from town, we would be paying the brunt of this road use charge,” said Har. “and if you look at the socio-demographics of the people from the central and the leeward side, it is economically inequitable.”

A list of upcoming meetings on the “Road Usage Charge” is down below.

OAHU

  • Wednesday, March 20 (6 – 8 p.m. at Kapolei High School Cafeteria, Kapolei)
  • Tuesday, April 16 (TBA)
  • Wednesday, April 17 (TBA)
     

KAUAI

  • Friday, March 22 (5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Wilcox Elementary Cafeteria, Lihue)
  • Saturday, March 23 (10:30 AM – 12:30 PM at Koloa Neighborhood Center)
     

MAUI

  • Monday, March 25 (5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Lahaina Intermediate School Cafeteria)
  • Tuesday, March 26 (Prince Kuhio Day) (5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Baldwin High School, Wailuku)
  • Wednesday, March 27 (5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Paia Community Center)
     

MOLOKAI

  • Tuesday, April 2 (5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Kaunakakai Elementary School Cafeteria)
     

LANAI

  • Thursday, April 4 (5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Lanai Community Center)
     

HAWAII ISLAND

  • Tuesday, April 9 (5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Natural Energy Lab, Kona)
  • Wednesday, April 10 (5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Waimea School STEAM Center)
  • Thursday, May 9 (TBA)

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