Hawaii to Embark on Nation's Largest Mileage Fee Demonstration Program

Unlike the more limited Oregon and California road usage charge programs currently in operation, Hawaii's program envisions over one million motorists participating in the demonstration program.

September 30, 2016, 9:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid


cleanfotos / Shutterstock

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), in partnership with the counties of the state of Hawaii (County of Kauai, City and County of Honolulu, County of Maui, and County of Hawaii), received nearly $4 million, the largest of eight grants [selist in Sept. 6 post on the eight projects] awarded by the Federal Highway Administration on August 30 under its Surface Transportation System Funding Alternative Program

"Although representing a small state, HDOT proposes to directly measure road use and provide prototypical billings and direct communications about the objectives of this program to over 1 million motorists across all four counties of the state," according to the 'project description' of the Hawaii Road Usage Charge Demonstration [PDF]

"The department said a tax on motor fuels now provides 33 percent of State Highway Fund revenue, but the demonstration project will test whether mileage-based fees could provide a sustainable source of funding to maintain and build Hawaii roadways," reports AASHTO Journal.

[HDOT's Highway Division] said its pilot program will build on an existing system in which Hawaii records odometer readings annually on all vehicles as part of their yearly registration inspections

Hawaii sees mileage fees, more specifically, the road usage charge (the term also used by OReGO) as a possible replacement for the gas tax because it aligns with its energy and environment goals of weaning off fossil fuels while allowing HDOT to maintain its road network."

From project description:

Transitioning Hawaii’s ground transportation vehicles from internal combustion engines to high miles per gallon (MPG) and alternative fuel vehicles is an important strategy for supporting Hawaii’s statewide energy policy goals, which include reduction or elimination of fossil fuel use.  Changing the structure of transportation funding, to ensure that system maintenance and energy policy are aligned, is integral to achieving the State’s goals.

"The first demonstration activities will launch in the first half of 2017 with manual reporting and feature continuous feedback from motorists over 18 months," according to the grant application description.

HDOT is a member of the Western Road Usage Charge Consortium.  Project Manager Gerald Dang has participated in WRUCC since March 2014. 

Related Planetizen coverage:

Friday, September 23, 2016 in AASHTO Journal

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