Hawaii transport officials consider exchanging gas taxes for road use



  • STAR ADVERTISER / AUG. 2015

    A tank truck refueled the underground storage tanks at the 76 gas station in Waimanalo. The Hawaii Department of Transportation is looking for feedback from the public about the concept of a traffic charging system to finance the maintenance of state roads and bridges during 14 community meetings in the coming months.

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Imagine drivers in Hawaii paying per mile of used road instead of paying fuel tax at the pump.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation is seeking public feedback on the concept of a road use charge system, or RUC, to fund the maintenance of state roads and bridges during 14 community meetings in the coming months.

According to transport officials, the RUC system should have vehicle owners pay for the actual kilometers driven. With the Hawaii gasoline charging system, owners pay the amount of fuel that their vehicle uses. Hawaiian drivers pay a fuel tax of 16 cents per gallon.

"The reality is that tax revenues, which provide a third of national highway financing, continue to fall as cars become more economical," said Ed Sniffen, HDOT Deputy Director for Highways, in a press release. "We must look for a sustainable replacement of the gas tax that is sustainable and fair for all road users."

The public transportation department said it received a federal grant in 2016 for a three-year project analyzing the use of a mileage charge as a "revenue-neutral replacement" for the Hawaii payment system at the pump. The project includes testing the different ways to report kilometers, as well as payment structures, and will weigh factors such as sustainability, justice, and information and privacy protection, officials said.

Hawaii is one of the dozens of countries that are investigating whether the switch to a pay-per-mile tax is feasible.

As part of the study, Hawaii drivers have the ability to provide feedback, questions, and concerns to transportation officials. Community meetings are scheduled for:

Oahu

>> 6 to 8 pm March 20 in Kapolei High School Cafeteria, Kapolei

>> 16 April (location TBA, check hiruc.org)

>> 17 April (location TBA, check hiruc.org)

Kauai

>> 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm 22 March in Wilcox Elementary Cafeteria, Lihue

>> 10:30 am to 12:30 pm March 23 in the Koloa neighborhood center

Maui

>> 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm 25 March in the cafeteria of Lahaina Intermediate School

>> 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm 26 March at Baldwin High School, Wailuku

>> 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm 27 March at the Paia Community Center

Molokai

>> 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm 2 April at the Kaunakakai Elementary School Cafeteria

lanai

>> 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm April 4 at the community center of Lanai

Hawaii island

>> 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm April 9 at Natural Energy Lab, Kona

>> 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm April 10 at STEIM Center at Waimea School

>> 9 May (TBA, check hiruc.org)

Residents of Hawaii can also participate via an online community meeting scheduled for April 18. More information about all meetings will be posted on hiruc.org.

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