Are you willing to pay a “road usage charge” to fund upkeep of Hawaii’s roadways and bridges?
“We made it no secret that there’s insufficient funding in the highway system. We’re looking at trying to see what we can do to increase the revenue so we can increase the services to the public,” said Ed Sniffen with the Department of Transportation.
The DOT is looking into a system where drivers pay for actual miles driven instead of paying an extra tax on gas.
Currently, Hawaii vehicle owners pay 16 cents per gallon in state fuel tax. The fuel tax revenue provides a third of the state highways funding, but more money is needed.
“As we seen over the years that revenues that come into highways..and the main revenue sources are gas tax, registration fees and weight tax. In general it stayed flat. Whereas the cost for us to do business went up by 20 percent,” explained Sniffen.
Some are skeptical over the proposal.
“I think it’s an interesting proposal. I applaud the DOT for thinking outside of the box. But I do have a lot of concerns especially for my community. I represent the North Shore. We feel quite strongly that we’re already taxed to death if you will. I would not support this proposal if it wasn’t revenue neutral to the taxpayer,” said state Representative Sean Quinlan.
Public feedback is needed. State officials will conduct 14 community meetings at the following locations:
Wednesday, March 20 (6 – 8 p.m. at Kapolei High School Cafeteria, Kapolei)
Tuesday, April 16 (location TBA, check hiruc.org)
Wednesday, April 17 (location TBA, check hiruc.org)
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, Koloa)
Monday, March 25 (5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Lahaina Intermediate School Cafeteria, Lahaina)
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, Paia)
Tuesday, April 2 (5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Kaunakakai Elementary School Cafeteria, Kaunakakai)
Thursday, April 4 (5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Lanai Community Center, Lanai City)
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, Waimea)
Thursday, May 9 (TBA, check hiruc.org)