Tax and fee hikes will fund major highway project for Hawaii

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A major announcement Thursday out of Governor Lingle's office. Top state officials are planning a six year, 4.2 billion dollar highway modernization plan.

Hawaii taxpayers and tourists would foot part of the bill.

Officials say the state-wide plan is aimed at reducing traffic, improving highway safety, maintaining roads, and saving motorists time and money.

Funding would come from future increases in the fuel tax, state vehicle registration fees, vehicle weight tax, and rental car surcharges.

The new taxes would begin mid 2011 and would generate two billion over six years. The other funds would come from the current 1.5 billion dollar highway budget and 500 million dollars in the proposed federal economic stimulus bill.

The state fuel tax would go from 17 cents  per gallon to 27 cents per gallon. A hike in vehicle weight taxes would generate an additional 68 million in annual revenues.

Motor vehicle registration fees would also be increased from 25 to 45 bucks per year. The rental vehicle surcharge tax would increase from 3 dollars a day to 5 bucks.

State officials estimate the financial impact to the average taxpayer will be 170 dollars per year.