Imagine if drivers in Hawaii paid per mile of road used instead of paying fuel tax at the pump.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation is seeking the public’s feedback on the concept of a road usage charge system, or RUC, to fund the upkeep of the state’s roads and bridges at 14 community meetings in the next few months.
According to transportation officials, the RUC system would have vehicle owners paying for actual miles driven. With Hawaii’s gasoline tax system, owners pay by the amount of fuel their vehicle consumes. Hawaii motorists pay a state fuel tax of 16 cents a gallon.
“The reality is fuel tax revenue, which provides a third of state highways funding, continues to decrease as cars become more fuel efficient,” said Ed Sniffen, HDOT deputy director for Highways, in a news release. “We need to look at a long-term replacement for the gas tax that is sustainable and fair to all road users.”
The state transportation department said it received a federal grant in 2016 for a three-year project analyzing the use of a per-mile fee as a “revenue-neutral replacement” for Hawaii’s pay-at-the-pump system. The project includes tests on the different ways to report mileage, as well as payment structures and will weigh factors such as sustainability, fairness, and information and privacy protection, officials said.
Hawaii is one of a dozen states exploring whether the switch to a pay-per-mile-driven charge is feasible.
As part of the study, Hawaii drivers have the opportunity to provide their feedback, questions, and concerns to transportation officials. Community meetings are scheduled for:
>> 6 to 8 p.m. March 20 at Kapolei High School Cafeteria, Kapolei
>> April 16 (location TBA, check hiruc.org)
>> April 17 (location TBA, check hiruc.org)
>> 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 22 at Wilcox Elementary Cafeteria, Lihue
>> 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 23 at Koloa Neighborhood Center
>> 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 25 at Lahaina Intermediate School cafeteria
>> 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 26 at Baldwin High School, Wailuku
>> 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 27 at Paia Community Center
>> 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 2 at Kaunakakai Elementary School Cafeteria
>> 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 4 at Lanai Community Center
>> 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 9 at Natural Energy Lab, Kona
>> 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 10 at Waimea School STEAM Center
>> May 9 (TBA, check hiruc.org)
Hawaii residents can also participate via an online community meeting scheduled on April 18. More information about all the meetings will be posted at hiruc.org.