Road Worriers - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

January 26, 2009

Road Worriers

$4-billion.  That's what it's going to take to make some drastic improvements on our roadways, on four islands, in the years ahead. And yes, we will all pay for it, but it's either that or worsening road conditions, more traffic, and probably more fatalities.  With increases in the state fuel tax and vehicle weight tax, a lot of the costs will be covered over the years.  And since we should all save time- and thus gasoline and perhaps car maintenance- with less traffic, you will make some of your taxed money back.

We really do need to see these projected projects completed, and the sooner the better.  Nimitz Highway, contra-flow lanes on H-1, Kaumuali'i Highway widening, Kawaihae and Lahaina bypass roads, etc.  These are all necessary improvements that will make our roads safer and easier to navigate.  Part of the discussion at the top levels includes the fact that people can't afford this extra tax right now, so plans to begin will wait until job growth is seen over two consecutive quarters- which might not be until mid-2011.

The tax is built into already-taxed items- like gasoline and vehicle weight- so perhaps some small increase could get the funding starting now, but the feeling is that individuals and families should not have to stomach this additional burden at this time.  If estimates on the recovery are accurate, that means we will at least wait two-and-a-half years to begin these improvements.  Yet one more fiscal indication of how this recession is having ripple effects on even good news.  Think about it...

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