High fuel prices slow roadwork

Tammy Mori
Tammy Mori

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Its been a rough road for drivers with rising gas prices. But our roads could be rougher in the future from soaring fuel costs.

It has been slow going for construction along Puuloa road. One of the many projects currently underway across the state. Now expect a slowdown for future projects starting up.

"We had 15 projects on the list, but because of rising fuel prices we may only be able to get to 9 of those projects," said Tammy Mori, with the State Department of Transportation.

How does fuel figure into this? Higher costs have doubled the price for basic re-surfacing needs of concrete and asphalt.

"Double the price means double the projected cost," added Mori.

But the state road budgets are hit twice as hard from soaring prices prices at the pump.

As drivers scale back as a way to save, they are putting less gas in their tanks.

Which in turn, puts less money into the state's highway maintenance fund.

Right now, a 17 cents on every gallon goes into the fund.

Already island gas dealers have seen a decrease in demand.

"In our second store we're down 5 percent, so its already hit us in one of our locations," said Barney Robinson, an Oahu Chevron Dealer.

Many drivers remember the days of plentiful potholes.

"Back a number of years ago, there were potholes everywhere, the roads just seemed to fall apart when it rained," said John Gill, a Kalihi resident.

"Oh it was terrible, I had to change my tire. It was horrible, especially when it was raining," added Ena Napoles, of Salt Lake.

More rough roads ahead have drivers concerned it will cost them. Not at the pump but on the wear and tear of their cars.

The state is also missing out on money at the pump from ethanol. Currently Hawaii does not add on the general excise tax to ethanol, just on regular gasoline. That is additional money that could be spent to keep up our roads.