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Thursday, January 22, 2009
Gas tax increase to pay for highway work
By News Release @ 11:48 PM :: 2328 Views

 

RELATED: Coverage from Hawaii Reporter

HONOLULU — Governor Linda Lingle, together with Senate Transportation Chair Kalani English, House Transportation Chair Joe Souki and State Transportation Director Brennon Morioka today unveiled a $4.2 billion dollar, six-year Highway Modernization Plan.  The statewide plan would implement critical highway projects and programs aimed at reducing traffic congestion, improving highway safety, maintaining roads, and saving motorists time and money.
“This is a truly innovative proposal that will change the way the state Department of Transportation does business when it comes to funding, planning and implementing highway upgrades and maintenance,” said Governor Lingle.  “This Highway Modernization Plan will provide the type of results that all users of our roadways have been waiting for and deserve.  It builds on the State’s overall efforts to upgrade Hawai‘i’s transportation infrastructure, and will complement our Airports Modernization and Harbors Modernization plans that are already underway.”
The Highway Modernization Plan focuses on 183 projects, including 161 projects in the four counties:  76 projects on O‘ahu ($1,905,033,000), 36 projects for Maui County ($578,940,000), 27 projects on the Big Island ($524,712,000) and 22 projects on Kaua‘i ($263,410,000).  In addition, there are 22 statewide projects ($968,119,000)
“These projects show how the Administration and the Legislature can work together to serve the critical needs of Hawai‘i residents and move important projects ahead,” said Senator Kalani English, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.  “These improvements represent a chance to improve the quality of life for thousands in our community, and they deserve our unqualified support.  Projects like this show that we are not going to accept the status quo, that we will take extraordinary action in the face of pressing needs. Although the time schedule on these particular projects will take us a few years into the future, our state always benefits from capital improvement projects that both keep our workers on the job and improve the quality of life for our residents,” Senator English added.
“I’ve always believed in the importance of investing in infrastructure and how doing so can positively impact our everyday lives,” said Rep. Joe Souki, chair, House Transportation Committee.  “This plan demonstrates a true commitment to infrastructure by providing the necessary resources to address critical transportation needs of our state.”
Funding for the highways modernization plan would be generated by conditional future increases in the fuel tax, state vehicle registration fee, vehicle weight tax, and rental car surcharges, projected to begin mid-2011.  These new revenue streams would generate $2 billion over six years that, when added to the current $1.5 billion highway budget and $500 million in the proposed Federal Economic Stimulus Bill, would provide $4 billion for needed highway improvements. 
Due to the recent global economic downturn, the proposed increases would only take effect upon the condition that Hawai‘i experience a 1 percent job growth over two consecutive quarters, as determined by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
“While it is important to be sensitive to the current financial situation of our families and businesses, we also need to plan for the future when the economy rebounds, and not just sit and wait for it to happen.  This idea of an economic trigger tied to future growth in the economy means that we can do both,” the Governor explained. 
Under the proposed legislation, the state fuel tax which is currently $0.17 per gallon would be raised to $0.27 per gallon, generating an estimated increase in annual revenues of $51 million.  Vehicle weight taxes, currently set at 3/4 of a cent per pound for vehicles up to 4,000 pounds, would be raised to 2 and 3/4 of a cent per pound, generating an additional $68 million in annual revenues.  Motor vehicle registration fees would also be increased from $25 per year to $45 per year, adding an additional $23.3 million in annual revenues. 
The final funding proposal would increase the rental vehicle surcharge tax from $3 per day or portion of day to $5 per day or portion of day, creating an additional $32 million annually.  Financial impacts to the average taxpayer would be a total of $170 per year.
"This initial investment will bring taxpayers long-term savings," said Morioka.  “Under current conditions, every ten minutes of traffic delays on our highways costs each driver roughly $600 per year, and for commercial vehicles, these costs are magnified to $3,300 per year.  Modernizing our highway system will minimize environmental impacts. It will also reduce stress created by sitting in traffic.  This plan is meant to improve safety on our highways as well as enhance the overall quality of life by easing traffic congestion which will save motorists time and money.”
Revenues would be placed in a newly created special fund to provide greater accountability and transparency to the public.
“Transparency is key,” said Morioka.  “We want to be up front with the public and show people what projects will be delivered, the price tag of each project, and when each initiative will be completed,” Morioka added.

O‘AHU (76 projects; $1,905,033,000)

On O‘ahu, a number of projects aimed at improving traffic congestion and highway capacity are ready to move forward, including the PM Contraflow Lane project from the Ke‘ehi Interchange to the Waiawa Interchange and the $100 million Middle Street merge widening of an eastbound H-1 Freeway bottleneck from Ola Lane to Vineyard Boulevard.  Also slated are over $15 million in traffic signal optimization projects at locations around the island.  Some of the key projects funded by the Highways Modernization Plan are as follows:

Highway Capacity

  • PM Contraflow from Ke‘ehi Interchange to Waiawā Interchange, $50 million
  • Interstate Route H-1 Widening (Middle St. Merge), Ola Lane to Vineyard Boulevard, $100 million
  • Nimitz Viaduct, Ke‘ehi Interchange to Pacific Street, $600 million

Highway Congestion

  • Freeway Management System (eight phases), $110.9 million
  • Traffic Signal Optimization:

o        Farrington Highway, Waipio Point Access Rd. to Kunia Rd., $2.8 million

o        Farrington Highway, Nānākuli to Makaha, $2.16 million

o        Nimitz Highway, Valkenburg Street to Ahua Street, $2.16 million

o        Kamehameha Highway, Lanikuhana Ave. to Kuahelani Ave., $2.8 million

o        Kamehameha Highway, Leilehua Golf Course Road to Interstate Route H-2 Off-Ramp, $2.8 million

o        Likelike Highway, Kamehameha IV Road to School Street, $860,000

o        Kalaniana‘ole Highway, Castle Junction to Kailua Road, $1.5 million

o        Kahekili Highway, Hā‘iku Road to Hui Iwa Street, $325,000

Safety Improvements

  • Kalaniana‘ole Highway Safety Improvements in the vicinity of Keolu Drive to Waimanalo Beach Park, $2.52 million
  • Kamehameha Highway Safety Improvements:

o        Vicinity of Naniloa Loop (North) to Anemoku Street, $480,000

o        Vicinity of Kualoa Ranch Road to Kamaka Place, $1.68 million

o        Vicinity of Paalaa Uka Pupukea to Kamananui Road, $1.32 million

Bridge Program

  • Kamehameha Highway:

o        Hoolapa Stream (Nanahu) Bridge Replacement, $10 million

o        Makaua Stream Bridge Rehabilitation, $5 million

o        Waikane Stream Bridge Rehabilitation, $5 million

o        Kalauoa Springs Stream Bridge Replacement, $10 million

Rockfall & Slope Stabilization

  • Kamehameha Highway, Rockfall Protection:

o        Vicinity of Wahiawā Town, $5 million

o        Vicinity of North Shore, $5 million

Shoreline Protection

  • Kamehameha Highway, Shoreline Protection:

o        Vicinity of Hau‘ula, $5.7 million

o        Vicinity of Ka‘a‘awa, $10.84 million

o        Vicinity of Kawailoa Beach, $1.7 million

Pavement Preservation

  • Pavement Preservation, $58 million

    KAUA‘I (22 projects; $263,410,000)

On Kaua‘i, a number of projects aimed at improving highway capacity are ready to move forward to keep up with the island’s growing communities.  These include the $105 million widening of Kaumuali‘i Highway.  Also slated is $30 million for the replacements .of the Waioli, Waipa, and Waikoko Stream Bridges on Kuhio Highway and $12 million for pavement preservation projects.  Some of the additional key projects on Kaua‘i are highlighted below:

Highway Capacity

  • Kaumuali‘i Highway Widening:

o        Vicinity of Līhu‘e Mill Bridge to Kuhio Highway, Phase 1A-1, $20.3 million

o        Anonui Street to Kipu Road, Ph 1B, $42.5 million

Bridge Program

  • Kuhio Highway, Waioli, Waipa & Waikoko Stream Bridges Replacement, $30 million

Shoreline Protection

  • East Kaua‘i, Shoreline Protection, $10 million

Pavement Preservation

  • Pavement Preservation, $12 million

MAUI, MOLOKA‘I (36 projects; $578,940,000)

On Maui, a number of projects aimed at improving highway capacity are ready to move forward to keep pace with future traffic demands.  These include the $175 million construction of the Lahaina Bypass Road and $186.5 million for the Kihei-Upcountry Road.  Twenty-five million dollars would also be earmarked for shoreline protection projects on Honoapiilani Highway, Kahului Beach Road, and North Kihei Road.  Additional projects slated for Maui and Moloka‘i are listed below:

Highway Capacity

  • Lahaina Bypass:

o        Phase 1B1, $48 million

o        Phase 1B2, $58 million

o        Phase 1C, Keawe St Extension to Ka‘anapali Connector, $69 million

  • Pu‘unene Avenue Widening, Wakea Ave. to Kuiheliani Highway, $5.53 million
  • Hana Highway Widening, Ka‘ahumanu Ave. to Vicinity of Airport Access Rd., $8.5 million
  • Kihei-Upcountry Road:

o        Phase 1, $86.5 million

o        Phase 2, $50 million

Bridge Program

  • Kula Highway, Kaipoioi Stream Bridge Rehabilitation, $5 million
  • Kamehameha Highway V, Kaimiloloa Stream Bridge Rehab, Moloka‘i, $5 million

Shoreline Protection

  • Honoapiilani Highway, Shoreline Protection, $10 million
  • Kahului Beach Road, Shoreline Protection, $5 million
  • North Kihei Road, Shoreline Protection, $10 million

Pavement Preservation

  • Pavement Preservation, $10 million

BIG ISLAND (27 projects; $524,712,000)

On the Big Island, a number of projects improving highway capacity are ready to move forward, including the $84 million widening of Kuakini highway from Henry Street to Kamehameha III Road and the $183.3 million Kawaihae Road Bypass from Waimea to Kawaihae.  Forty million dollars would also be available for pavement preservation projects around the island.  Additional projects aimed at improving highway capacity and safety on the Big Island are listed below:

Highway Capacity

  • Kuakini Highway Widening, Henry Street to Kamehameha III Road, $84 million.
  • Kawaihae Road Bypass, Waimea to Kawaihae

o        Phase 1, $61.1 million

o        Phase 2, $61.1 million

Safety Improvements

  • Keaau-Pahoa Road Safety Improvements, Keaau to Pahoa, Phases 1 and 2, $3 million

Bridge Program

  • Hawai‘i Belt Road, Hilea Stream Bridge Replacement, $20 million

Rockfall & Slope Stabilization

  • Hawai‘i Belt Road, Rockfall Protection at Various Sections, $20 million

Shoreline Protection

  • East Hawai‘i, Shoreline Protection, $10 million

Pavement Preservation

  • Pavement Preservation, $40 million

STATEWIDE (22 projects; $968,119,000)

Safety Improvements

  • Bicycle Improvements, $17 million
  • Pedestrian Improvements, $22.5 million

OVERALL TOTALS (183 projects; $4,240,214,000)

Highway Capacity       

  • Current:                                $273.87 million
  • Highway Modernization Plan:                $1.498 billion
  • Total                                         $1.772 billion

Highway Congestion       

  • Current:                                $288.29 million
  • Highway Modernization Plan:                $1.588 billion
  • Total                                         $1.911 billion

Highway Safety Improvements Program

  • Current:                                $30.3 million
  • Highway Modernization Plan:                $11 million
  • Total                                         $42.3 million

Bridge Program

  • Current:                                $186.83 million
  • Highway Modernization Plan:                $90 million
  • Total                                         $276.83 million


Rockfall & Slope Stabilization

  • Current:                                $50.17 million
  • Highway Modernization Plan:                $30 million
  • Total                                         $80.17 million

Shoreline Protection

  • Current:                                $33.07 million
  • Highway Modernization Plan:                $63.24 million
  • Total                                         $96.31 million

Safety Programs

  • Current:                                $337.97 million
  • Highway Modernization Plan:                $127 million
  • Total                                         $648.21 million

System Preservation (e.g. landscaping, maintenance, drainage, lighting, etc.)

  • Current:                                $791.49 million
  • Highway Modernization Plan:                $120 million
  • Total                                         $911.49 million

Other Programs       

  • Current:                                $86.49 million
  • Highway Modernization Plan:                $60 million
  • Total                                         $146.49 million

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