THE STATE USES MONEY FROM A
GASOLINE TAX TO MAINTAIN AND FIX ROADS. MORE FUEL EFFICIENT CARS
COMBINED WITH CARS THAT DON’T USE GAS AT ALL MEAN LESS MONEY
FOR ROAD REPAIRS. NOW THE STATE WANTS FEEDBACK
ON A PROPOSAL TO ELIMINATE ITS GAS TAX AND LEVY A PER MILE
ROAD USAGE CHARGE. THAT ALL VEHICLE OWNERS PAY. THE STATE SAYS MOTORISTS WILL
PAY ABOUT THE SAME AMOUNT. TONIGHT’S LIVE BROADCAST AND LIVESTREAM OF INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAIʻI START NOW. [INTRO MUSIC] ALOHA AND WELCOME TO INSIGHTS
ON PBS HAWAIʻI…I’M YUNJI DE NIES. THE STATE’S PORTION OF THE GAS
TAX IN HAWAIʻI IS 16 CENTS PER GALLON. THAT MONEY GOES
TOWARD HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE, REPAIR AND IMPROVEMENT. AS MORE FUEL-EFFICIENT CARS
AND THOSE THAT DON’T EVEN USE GAS HIT THE ROAD, THERE IS
LESS MONEY IN THAT POT. SO THE STATE WANTS TO SCRAP
THE TAX FOR A ROAD USAGE CHARGE WHERE EVERY DRIVER WHO
USES THE ROADS PAYS. TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS
HAVE GATHERED INPUT FROM AROUND THE STATE AND ARE ABOUT
TO ENTER THE NEXT PHASE OF A THREE-YEAR PILOT PROJECT. OUR GUESTS TONIGHT INCLUDE A
TRANSPORTATION EXECUTIVE, A CONSULTANT ON THE PROJECT AND
REPRESENTATIVES OF CONSTITUENT GROUPS WHO HAVE
CONCERNS ABOUT THE PROPOSAL. WE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR
PARTICIPATION IN TONIGHT’S SHOW. YOU CAN EMAIL, CALL OR
TWEET YOUR QUESTIONS. AND
YOU’LL FIND A LIVE STREAM OF THIS PROGRAM AT PBSHAWAII.ORG
AND THE PBS HAWAIʻI FACEBOOK PAGE. NOW, TO OUR GUESTS. TIM SAKAHARA IS THE
COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF
TRANSPORTATION. HE IS A
FORMER TV NEWS REPORTER BOTH IN HAWAIʻI AND ON THE
MAINLAND. GING GING FERNANDEZ IS WITH
D’ARTAGNAN CONSULTING, WHICH HAS BEEN CONTRACTED BY THE
STATE TO MANAGE THE PILOT PROJECT. SHE HAS NEARLY 20
YEARS OF EXPERIENCE WORLDWIDE IN TRANSPORTATION,
COMMUNICATIONS AND ENGINEERING INDUSTRIES. SHARON HAR REPRESENTS STATE
HOUSE DISTRICT 42 ON O’AHU, WHICH INCLUDES KAPOLEI AND
MAKAKILO. SHE IS AN ATTORNEY
SPECIALIZING IN REAL ESTATE, LAND USE AND CONSTRUCTION
LITIGATION. AND LAUREN REICHELT IS THE
CLEAN TRANSPORTATION DIRECTOR FOR THE BLUE PLANET
FOUNDATION, WHICH ADVOCATES FOR 100 PERCENT CLEAN ENERGY. SHE ALSO SERVES AS THE CLEAN
CITIES COORDINATOR FOR THE SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION
COALITION OF HAWAIʻI. MAHALO TO YOU FOR JOINING US
TONIGHT – I WANT START WITH YOU. WHY DOES THE STATE FEEL IT’S
NECESSARY NOW? HOW MUCH MONEY ARE THEY
POTENTIALLY GOING TO LOSE AS THESE VEHICLES BEING MORE
FUEL EFFICIENT?>>PURPOSE OF ROAD USAGE
CHARGE, TRY TO DETERMINE FAIR AND EQUITABLE WAY WHERE
EVERYBODY PAYS FAIR SHARE FOR WHAT THEY DRIVE. MILES THEY DRIVE, RATHER THAN
THE GAS THAT THEY BURN. SO THE WAY IT WORKS OUT, GAS
TAX IS THE BIGGEST SOURCE OF REVENUE FOR THE HIGHWAYS
DIVISION RIGHT NOW. WE KNOW THAT THE CARS ARE
GETTING BETTER MILES PER GALLON. SOME CARS DON’T EVEN NEED
FOSSIL FUEL. THAT’S FANTASTIC. FULLY SUPPORT THAT. DEPARTMENT AND STATE FULLY
SUPPORTS THAT. WE WANT TO KEEP THAT GOING. SAME TOKEN, YOU STILL HAVE TO
PAY FOR THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE ROADWAY
SYSTEM. SO THE ROAD USAGE CHARGE IS
ONE OF THOSE PROPOSALS THAT IS BEING STUDIED JUST TO TRY TO
DETERMINE IF IT WOULD WORK IN HAWAIʻI AND IT WILL BE FAIR
SPREAD OUT FOR ALL DRIVERS.>>Yunji: WE HAVE GRAPHICS ON
HOW THE GAS TAX GOES INTO THE STATE HIGHWAYS FUND REVENUE. WE CAN TAKE A LOOK AT THAT. FUEL TAX IS 30% OF THE
FUNDING. IF YOU LOOK AT THE GAS PRICE
BREAK DOWN, THIS IS FROM ONE YEAR AGO, THE PRICES HAVEN’T
CHANGED ALL THAT MUCH. THE BASE PRICE THERE, $3.27,
THAT WAS IN SEPTEMBER OF 2018. STATE FUEL TAX AS WE SAID, TOP
OF THE SHOW. 16 CENTS A GALLON. AS THESE VEHICLES BECOME MORE
FUEL EFFICIENT, THAT 30% IS NARROWING. WHERE IS THAT MONEY GOING TO
COME FROM IF NOT THIS?>>EXACTLY RIGHT. IF NOTHING IS CHANGED RIGHT
NOW, THE HIGHWAYS DIVISION WILL CONTINUE TO SEE A
DEFICIT. THAT’S NOT GOOD FOR ANYBODY. NO MATTER WHAT CAR YOU DRIVE. EVERYBODY, WHETHER IT’S
FOSSIL FUEL CAR, HYBRID, ELECTRIC CAR, ALL OF THOSE
DRIVERS CAN APPRECIATE AND WOULD RATHER DRIVE ON GOOD
MAINTAINED ROADS, HAVE POTHOLES FILLED, GUARDRAILS
BE SAFE. STREETLIGHTS OPERABLE. SO THAT IS THE POINT OF THIS. IT’S IMPORTANT TO NOTE, WITH
THAT FIGURE, 16 CENTS JUST FOR SOME PERSPECTIVE IS THE SAME
AMOUNT IT WAS IN 1991. SO THE FUEL TAX IS THE SAME AS
IT’S BEEN SINCE THEN, BUT YET, CONSTRUCTION COSTS HAVE
DOUBLED IN THAT TIME. SO ANYONE WHO OWNS A BUSINESS
WOULD TELL YOU, IF THE LARGEST SOURCE OF REVENUE HAS STAYED
THE SAME SINCE 1991, 28 YEARS LATER, IT WOULD BE TOUGH TO
GROW YOUR BUSINESS IF EXPENSES GO UP, BUT REVENUES
CONTINUE TO STAY FLAT OR DECLINE.>>IN ALL FAIRNESS, 2010,
LEGISLATURE IN FACT WE ACTUALLY INCREASED THE
VEHICLE WEIGHT TAX AS WELL AS THE VEHICLE REGISTRATION FEE
AS WELL AS THE RENTAL SURCHARGE. RENTAL CAR SURCHARGE. THOSE ARE THE THREE OTHER
DEDICATED REVENUE SOURCES BEYOND THE FUEL TAX. SO THOSE ARE THE FOUR
DEDICATED REVENUE SOURCES THAT MAKE UP THE SURPRISE
STATE HIGHWAY FUND. SO WHILE THE GAS TAX HAS NOT
ACTUALLY INCREASED, THE FACT OF THE MATTER LEGISLATURE DID
INCREASE OTHER TYPES OF FUNDING THAT GO INTO THE STATE
HIGHWAY FUND.>>Yunji: I KNOW YOUR
CONSTITUENTS HAVE SOME CONCERNS ABOUT THIS. TELL US ABOUT THAT.>>OBVIOUSLY, WHAT WE DO, LOOK
AT MODELS ON THE MAINLAND. WHAT HAPPENS ON MAINLAND
DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK HERE IN THE STATE OF HAWAIʻI. I THINK THIS IS ONE OF THOSE
SITUATIONS. YOU LOOK ON THE MAINLAND, THE
REASON THIS PROGRAM MAY BE SUCCESSFUL ON THE MAINLAND IS
BECAUSE OFTEN TIME, IN THE URBAN CORE, INNER CITY. SO PEOPLE WHO ARE FROM MORE
AFTER FLUENT SOCIOECONOMIC DEMOGRAPHIC, THEY HAVE THE
LUXURY OF LIVING OUTSIDE OF THE URBAN CORE. HERE IN HAWAIʻI, EXACT
OPPOSITE. FOR OUR CONSTITUENTS ON THE
WEST SIDE, CENTRAL OAHU, WINDWARD SIDE, LIVING OUTSIDE
OF THE URBAN CORE IS NECESSITY. IT’S NOT A LUXURY. SO NOW, IF YOU’RE TELLING OUR
CONSTITUENTS THAT THEY ARE NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR HAVING TO
PAY PER MILE, THIS NOW PUTS THEM IN A SITUATION WHERE
THEY’RE FEELING GOVERNMENT HAS ALREADY NICKELED AND
DIMED THEM TO DEATH. DON’T UNDERSTAND WHERE THEIR
HARD-WORKING TAXPAYOR DOLLARS ARE GOING AND
GOVERNMENT IS JUST CONSTANTLY, BECAUSE OF THE
COST OF LIVING, CONTINUES TO FAIL THEM. SO PEOPLE ARE ANGRY ON THE
WEST SIDE. WE WENT THROUGH THIS AT THE
FIRST COMMUNITY MEETING. THE FIRST OUTREACH MEETING. PEOPLE IN KAPOLEI AND I THINK
FROM THE WEST SIDE AND CENTRAL OAHU, WERE LIVID ABOUT THIS
IDEA. THIS PROPOSAL.>>Yunji: DON’T THEY USE MORE
ROAD? JUST BY VIRTUE OF LIVING
FARTHER AWAY?>>I THINK WHAT YOU HAVE TO
REMEMBER IS NOT ALL ROADS COST THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY. IF YOU LOOK AT THE NUMBER OF
VEHICLE MILES FROM THE WEST SIDE VERSUS THE WINDWARD
SIDE, IT’S NO SECRET THAT TUNNELS AND TUNNELS ACTUALLY
COST MORE MONEY. RECENTLY HAPPENED AT THE
PALI. HOW MUCH MONEY THAT COSTS FOR
US TO FIX THAT. POPULATION, TALKING OVER
300,000 PEOPLE LIVING CENTRAL AND WEST OAHU VERSUS 80,000
PEOPLE ON THE WINDWARD SIDE. IF YOU LOOK AT THE INEQUITIES. COST MONEY TO FIX THE TUNNELS
THAN THE ROADS ON THE WEST SIDE. IT’S NOT NECESSARILY ABOUT
THE COST. IT’S REALLY WHAT YOU’RE
LOOKING AT IN TERMS OF FAIRNESS. FOR PEOPLE FROM THE WEST SIDE,
THEY WOULD BE PAYING THE BRUNT OF THIS ROAD USAGE CHARGE.>>Yunji: TELL US WHAT YOU’RE
STUDYING AND HOW THAT BEARS OUT.>>SURE. WE STARTED WITH THE
FEESABILITY STUDY. LOOKED AT A LOT OF THESE
ISSUES AND CONCERNS, ONE OF THEM BEING LOW INCOME
HOUSEHOLDS. ALSO LONG DISTANCE DRIVERS. THE INITIAL STUDIES SHOWED
THAT ACTUALLY, A LOT OF THE WHAT IS BEING BORNE RIGHT NOW,
LOW INCOME AND LONG DISTANCE DRIVERS BECAUSE OF THE FACT
PEOPLE ALREADY ARE PAYING GAS TAX. THESE FOLKS ARE ALREADY HAVE
VEHICLES THAT ARE OLDER AND ALSO LESS FUEL EFFICIENT. SO THE IDEA HERE IS IF WE WERE
TO LOOK AT REPLACING TAX WITH ROAD USAGE CHARGE, DOES IT
MAKE IT MORE FAIR IN THE LONG RUN? AS VEHICLES, AS A FLEET,
BECOME MORE FUEL EFFICIENT, IS THERE SOMETHING WHERE WE
CAN STABILIZE THE FUNDING, YET STILL HAVE A VERY FAIR
ASSIST THEM PLACE WHERE PEOPLE ARE PAYING BY THEIR
USAGE? TELL US ABOUT THE FEEDBACK.>>BEEN VERY INTERESTING. ONE OF THE THINGS, AS
REPRESENTATIVE HAR SAYS, HAWAIʻI VERY DIFFERENT. FROM MAINLAND. SO THAT’S ONE OF THE THINGS WE
REALLY WANTED TO DRILL INTO BECAUSE THE FACT A LOT OF
STUDIES BEEN ELSEWHERE, BUT IS ROAD USAGE CHARGE REALLY
APPLICABLE HERE IN HAWAIʻI? SO THINGS THAT WE HEARD ARE
FOR EXAMPLE, LIKE TOURISM. IS THAT SOMETHING VERY UNIQUE
TO HAWAIʻI. ALSO, HAWAIʻI HAS COUNTIES. AND A LOT OF OTHER PLACES
DON’T REALLY HAVE THAT STATE AND COUNTY RESPONSIBILITY FOR
DIFFERENT ROADS. SO WE’RE LOOK AT ALL THE
ISSUES THAT REALLY MAKE HAWAIʻI UNIQUE SO THAT WE CAN
TAKE A LOOK AT IT IN THE PILOT AND ALSO THE ANALYSIS.>>Yunji: YOU HAVE A CONCERN
ABOUT THIS BUT YOU’RE COMING AT IT NOT NECESSARILY FROM
SOCIOECONOMIC STANDPOINT, BUT MORE OF ENVIRONMENTAL
STANDPOINT. TELL US ABOUT THAT.>>SURE. A COUPLE OF THINGS. TIM HAD MENTIONED THE BUDGET. BUT VEHICLES ARE BECOMING
MORE FUEL EFFICIENT AND ELECTRIC VEHICLES ARE COMING
ON THE ROAD, WE’RE ALSO SELLING A LOT MORE SUVs,
TRUCKS, AND VANS. ABOUT 20% OF THE MARKET IN THE
LAST 7 YEARS. WE’RE NOT DECREASING THE
AMOUNT OF GASOLINE WE’RE PURCHASING. THERE’S LESS THAN 1% OF THE
CARS ON THE ROAD ARE ELECTRIC VEHICLES. IF YOU ASSUME EIGHTY DOLLARS
PER CAR EVERY YEAR, THAT $800,000 IS REALLY A DROP IN
THE BUCKET. AS FOR AS ENTIRE BUDGET GOES. IF WE’RE LOOKING AT A FUTURE,
WHERE WE’RE 100% RENEWABLE, WE STILL HAVE TO GET TO THAT
FUTURE AND TO BE DISINCENTIVIZING FUEL
EFFICIENCY, THE WAY THIS IS DOING THE WAYS TESTING OUT,
FLAT FEE ACROSS ALL VEHICLES, ANY CAR THAT IS MORE FUEL
EFFICIENT, 20-MILES PER GALLON MORE FUEL EFFICIENT
WILL PAY MORE ON THE SYSTEM. MEANWHILE, ANY CAR THAT LESS
THAN 20-MILES PER GALLON IS GOING TO BE PAYING LESS. THE LEAST FUEL EFFICIENT CARS
ON THE ROAD POLLUTING THE MOST, ALSO, TEND TO BE LARGER
AND HEAVIER BECAUSE THOUGH ARE THOSE TRUCKS AND SUVs. ACTUALLY GOING TO MAKE OUT
BETTER IN THIS DEAL THAN FOLKS HAVE INVESTED IN FUEL
EFFICIENT CARS BECAUSE THEY WANT TO SAVE MONEY ON THEIR
COMMUTE OR INVESTED IN ELECTRIC VEHICLES BECAUSE
THEY WANT TO MITIGATE CLIMATE CHALLENGE WE’RE ALL FACING
RIGHT NOW. SO REALLY, DISINCENTIVIZING
FUEL EFFICIENCY IS A HUGE ISSUE. ANOTHER THING THAT WE DO
RECOGNIZE HERE WE’RE TYING OUR FUNDING SOURCE TO
SOMETHING WE WANT TO DISINCENTIVIZE. ALMOST MAYBE A BIGGER ISSUE. TAKING SORT OF MACRO STEP
BACK, BUT HISTORICALLY, WE TIED OUR FUNDING TO GAS AND WE
DON’T WANT TO BE SELL WILLING MORE IMPORTED PETROLEUM. WHY WE’RE GOING 100%
RENEWABLE. BY SHIFT TO GO A PER MILE
SYSTEM, WE’RE PAYING FOR THE MILES THAT WE DRIVE. WHICH IS CONTRIBUTING TO
CONGESTION, AND POLLUTION AS WELL. SO WE WANT TO, THE STATE,
ACTUALLY STATE’S FOLD TO BE REDUCING OUR BMT, TO BE
REDUCING OUR PETROLEUM USE IN THE TRANSPORTATION SECTOR,
BUT THEN WE’RE TYING OUR FUNDING TO THOSE THINGS AT THE
SAME TIME. THIS SEEMS TO BE A MISMATCH
THERE.>>Yunji: I WANT TO BRING IN
SOME OF THE VIEWERS ON THIS TONIGHT. TIM THIS, ONE SUPPORT YOU. WILL THE D.O.T. GO AHEAD WITH
THE ROAD USAGE CHARGE EVEN IF IT DOES HAVE WIDE PUBLIC
SUPPORT?>>WELL, THAT’S ONE OF THE
THINGS ABOUT THE DEMONSTRATION THAT’S
HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. WE WANT TO HEAR FROM ALL OF
THOSE VOICES BECAUSE THAT COULD HELP SHAPE, IF AND HOW
IT WOULD BE IMPLEMENTED. SO THAT’S WHY THE RESEARCH HAS
GONE OVER TO ALL ISLANDS AND HAD COMMUNITY MEETINGS,
NEIGHBORHOOD BOARDS, OUTREACH GROUP, COMMUNITY
GROUP, ROTARY CLUBS AND EVERYTHING. THERE’S A LOT THAT’S BEEN SAID
HERE. WHY IT’S A GREAT TOPIC TO
DISCUSS. HIGHLY DEBATABLE TOPIC. AS LAUREN WAS JUST SAYING,
PICK-UP TRUCKS AND SUVs ARE ON THE ROAD. THAT’S TRUE. YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THOSE PICK
UP TRUCKS. EVEN JUST IN THE LAST FIVE
YEARS, EVEN PICK UP TRUCKS GOTTEN MORE FUEL EFFICIENT. 25% MORE FUEL EFFICIENT IN THE
LAST FIVE YEARS. GREAT THING. BUT THAT MEANS THAT THE FUEL
TAX REVENUES ARE GOING DOWN. IT’S ONLY GOING TO GET BETTER
WHICH IS ALSO A GREAT THING. SO LOOK AHEAD. FIVE, TEN MORE YEARS. THOSE BIG VEHICLES ARE GOING
TO GET MORE FUEL EFFICIENT HOPEFULLY THERE WILL BE MORE
HYBRID OWNERS AND EV OWNERS ON THE ROADS AS WELL. SO THE POINT MUCH TRY FINDING
ALTERNATIVE FUNDING SOURCE IS TRYING TO REALLY FIX THIS
PROBLEM NOW BEFORE IT BECOMES A CRISIS. NO MATTER WHAT PEOPLE DRIVE,
WE STILL HAVE TO MAINTAIN THE ROADS AN KEEP THINGS SAFE.>>Yunji: HOW MUCH OF A
DIFFERENCE, I THINK HAVE YOU A LETTER THAT WOULD SHOW US,
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE THAT AVERAGE DRIVER WOULD PAY?>>SURE. THIS IS LETTER THAT WE’RE
PLANNING TO SEND OUT AS PEOPLE GET VEHICLE INSPECTIONS OVER
THE NEXT YEAR. DRIVING REPORT. HOW MANY MILES YOU MIGHT HAVE
DRIVEN OVER THE LAST YEAR. HOW MUCH YOU WOULD PAY IN GAS
TAXES. BASED ON YOUR VEHICLE. AND THEN HOW MUCH ROAD USAGE
CHARGE MIGHT BE. SO IN THIS CASE, THIS IS A
PRETTY AVERAGE VEHICLE. RAV4. IT GETS 22-MILES PER GALLON. IT WOULD HAVE PAID $187 OVER
THE LAST YEAR IN GAS TAXES. AND IN ROAD USAGE CHARGE, THAT
WOULD BE ABOUT $200.>>Yunji: HOW WOULD THAT BE
SAVE? RIGHT NOW, I PAY, FILL OUT MY
CAR, THIRTY DOLLARS OR HOWEVER MUCH IT IS. I DON’T NECESSARILY REALLY
FEEL THAT TAX IN THE SAME WAY THAT I WOULD IF I GOT A BILL
FOR $200 AT THE END OF THE YEAR. SO HOW WOULD THAT ACTUALLY BE
IMPLEMENTED?>>THAT’S ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT THE STUDY IS GOING TO LOOK AT. UNDER THE INITIAL, OF THE
PILOT, BASED ON ANNUAL ODOMETER READING. WHERE WHETHER PEOPLE MIGHT BE
SPLIT THAT UP, MONTHLY, QUARTERLY, SOMETHING WE’RE
INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT. THERE’S A SURVEY ONCE YOU GET
THIS, WE WOULD LOVE FOR EVERYBODY TO GO ON, TAKE THE
SURVEY AND EXPRESS THE OPINION, PREFERENCES, HOW
THIS MIGHT WORK OR NOT WORK WELL FOR PEOPLE SO THAT WE CAN
DESIGN THE POLICY AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO ELECTED
OFFICIALS ABOUT.>>I WANT TO MAKE SURE WE’RE
ANSWERING THE QUESTION. WHICH WAS, WILL THE D.O.T. IMPLEMENT THIS IF THE PUBLIC
DOESN’T SUPPORT IT. I WANT THE PUBLIC TO
UNDERSTAND THIS WOULD ACTUALLY TAKE ACT OF THE
LEGISLATURE. SO AFTER THIS 3 YEAR PILOT
PROGRAM, THERE WILL BE PRESUMABLY EVALUATION
REPORT. BASED ON THE REPORT
VOLUNTEERS THAT PARTICIPATED IN THE PROGRAM, DEPARTMENT OF
TRANSPORTATION WILL THEN PUT TOGETHER RECOMMENDATIONS TO
TAKE TO THE LEGISLATURE. AT THE END OF THE DAY, IT’S UP
TO THE LEGISLATURE TO MAKE THE, IMPLEMENT THE ACTUAL
LAW. I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO NOTE
THAT THERE’S ONLY ONE STATE IN THE UNITED STATES THAT IS
ACTUALLY IMPLEMENTED THIS LAW AND THAT IS THE STATE OF
OREGON. THEY DID 2015. AND IT’S STILL A VOLUNTARY
PROGRAM. NOT A MANDATORY PROGRAM. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, STATE OF
HAWAIʻI DID RECEIVE $4 MILLION FOR THIS PILOT
PROGRAM. AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WAS
GIVING OUT GRANTS. THAT’S WHY MANY OF THE STATES
ARE LOOKING AT THIS ROAD USAGE CHARGE PROGRAM. TO ANSWER CALLER’S QUESTION,
THIS WILL NOT BE IMPLEMENTED UNILATERALLY IF THE PUBLIC
DOES NOT SUPPORT IT.>>Yunji: WE WANT TO BRING IN
MORE COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC. THIS SAYS, OVERBURDENED WEST
SIDE PEOPLE WITH LOWER INCOME WHO LIVE FARTHER AWAY IN ORDER
TO SAVE MONEY, THIS WILL PUT THE BURDEN ON FOLKS WHO CAN
LEAST AFFORD IT. WHY NOT CHARGE ACCORDING TO
THE MAKE OF CAR, CHARGE MORE FOR LUXURY CARS? WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT WAYS
THAT YOU LOOKED AT IN TERMS OF HOW TO MAKE IT FAIR?>>ABSOLUTELY. LIKE WE SAID EARLIER, A LOT OF
DIFFERENT REVENUE SOURCES RIGHT NOW. SO SOME OF THEM ARE FIX COSTS. IF YOU OWN A CAR, YOU HAVE TO
PAY A REGISTRATION FEE. THERE ARE COMPONENTS THAT
TAKE CARE OF THE FACT THAT FOR A CAR OWNERSHIP. THE COST OF LIVING IN HAWAIʻI
IS ACTUALLY ALREADY VERY HIGH. SO JUST SIMPLY OWNING A CAR
SHOULDN’T MEAN THAT YOU HAVE TO PAY A REALLY LARGE
REGISTRATION FEE. SO GAS TAX AND ROAD USAGE
CHARGE IS TRYING TO TAKE CARE OF KIND OF THE UTILITY
COMPONENT OF THAT. SO THE MORE YOU USE OF THE
ROAD, THE MORE YOU PAY IN THE ROAD. SO YOU ADD THAT ALL TOGETHER
AND THEN YOU’VE GOT A COMPREHENSIVE POLICY THAT
TAKES CARE OF ALL OF THE DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF
TRANSPORTATION FUNDING INTO SOMETHING THAT COULD BE
STABLE IN THE LONG TERM.>>IT’S ALSO IMPORTANT TO
POINT OUT TOO THAT SOME OF RESEARCH ALSO SHOWN THAT THE
LOW INCOME AND RURAL DRIVERS ARE THE ONES THAT HAVE THE
LOWER MODEL CARS, LESS FUEL EFFICIENT CARS, AND THEY
MIGHT NOT NECESSARILY BE ABLE TO AFFORD THE CAR THIS GETS
BETTER MILES PER GALLON. IN A LOT OF CASE LOWER INCOME
OR RURAL DRIVERS COULD END UP SAVING MONEY UNDER THE ROAD
USAGE CHARGE ESPECIALLY IF THEY’RE NOT ABLE TO BUY, IF
THEIR CAR IS ONE OF THOSE OLDER LESS FUEL EFFICIENT
CARS. SO PERCEPTION IS THAT IT’S
GOING TO HURT OR PUNISH RURAL OR LOW INCOME. BUT IN REALITY, LOOKING AT THE
RESEARCH, IT COULD ACTUALLY SAVE THEM MONEY. DEPENDING ON THEIR
CIRCUMSTANCES. AND THE VEHICLE THEY DRIVE.>>Yunji: IS THAT $13
DIFFERENCE YOU SHOWED US, IS THAT PRETTY AVERAGE? WHAT PEOPLE CAN EXPECT
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 10 AND TWENTY DOLLARS A YEAR?>>IF YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THE
AVERAGE VEHICLE, IN HAWAIʻI, THEY DRIVE ABOUT
10,000-MILES. WHAT IT REALLY COMES DOWN TO
IS WHAT YOUR FUEL EFFICIENCY IS RIGHT NOW. SO YOU COULD ACTUALLY END UP,
IF YOU’RE NOT PAYING INTO THE GAS TAX RIGHT NOW, AND YOU’RE
DRIVING AVERAGE NUMBER OF MILES, YOU COULD PAY $150 MORE
A YEAR OR SO. ON THE OTHER SIDE, IF YOU
DRIVE LOW FUEL EFFICIENCY VEHICLE, LIKE A HEAVY DUTY
PICK-UP TRUCK, FOR EXAMPLE, YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY PAY A
LITTLE LESS THAN THAT AVERAGE. IT REALLY DEPENDS ON YOUR
CIRCUMSTANCES. AND HOW MUCH YOU DRIVE.>>Yunji: SO MUCH OF THIS IS
SUPPOSED TO BE ON FAIRNESS. DON’T YOU THINK IF YOU DRIVE
ELECTRIC CAR, YOU STILL DESERVE TO PAY SOME PORTION OF
THESE TAXES?>>I THINK THAT THERE IS A WAY
TO STRUCTURE THIS WHERE YOU BOTH INCENTIVIZE FUEL
EFFICIENCY AS WELL AS FUND THE HIGHWAYS FUND. WHETHER THAT’S INCORPORATING
FUEL EFFICIENCY AND COST OF THE VEHICLE INTO IT, SO THAT
LUXURY VEHICLES OWNERS ARE CHARGED AND FOLKS THAT ARE
DRIVING GAS CARS NOT PARTICULARLY FUEL EFFICIENT,
BUT THERE HAS TO BE A WAY TO INCENTIVIZE PURCHASING THESE
ELECTRIC VEHICLES AND PURCHASING FUEL EFFICIENT
VEHICLES. THE STATE HAS THESE CLEAN
ENERGY GOALS AND WE TALK AS THOUGH THERE’S ALL OF THESE
INCENTIVES IN PLACE ALREADY FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES. FREE PARKING IN PUBLIC LOTS. HOV LANE ACCESS. BOTH OF THOSE ARE SET TO
SUNSET NEXT YEAR. AT WHICH POINT WE DON’T HAVE
ANY STATE REBATES. A LOT OF POLICIES ACROSS THE
COUNTRY THAT ARE A LOT MORE INCENTIVIZING WE HAVE HERE. WHAT SAY AND DO ARE TWO
DIFFERENT THINGS.>>I DON’T DISAGREE WITH
ANYTHING LAUREN SAID. 100% ON THE MARK. THE FACT OF MATTER IS THIS,
TALKING ABOUT ENVIRONMENT, THAT IS A GREAT THING. STATE HAS OUR GOALS BY 2030. HAVING TO RENEWABLE ENERGY
GOALS. BUT YOU ALSO HAVE TO, IT
DOESN’T ABROGATE OR NULLIFY THE FACT THAT THOSE WHO ARE
DRIVING EVs, ARE NOT PAYING TOWARDS USING THE ROADS. AND THAT HAS TO BE ADDRESSED. SO IN THE STATE OF OREGON, FOR
EXAMPLE, FOR THE EV DRIVERS, ACTUALLY ENACTED AN
ADDITIONAL SURCHARGE FOR THOSE EV DRIVERS. BECAUSE THE FACT OF THE MATTER
IS THE ENVIRONMENT IS ONE THING. BUT YOU’RE STILL UTILIZING
OUR ROADS.>>WE ALSO ENACTED. FIFTY DOLLARS EVERY YEAR. STILL, IS THAT COMPENSATORY,
IS THAT COMPARABLE TO WHAT WE’RE PAYING IN THE GAS TAX
FOR OTHER DRIVERS THAT WAS A CONTROVERSIAL BILL. COLLEAGUES RECOGNIZED WE HAD
TO DO SOMETHING BECAUSE EV HAD CHARGED FOR USING THE ROADS. EV WILL PAY MORE THAN OTHER
VEHICLES ON THE ROAD WHEN THEY WERE SMALLER THAN SOME OF THE
HEAVY DUTY VEHICLES WITH LOWER FUEL EFFICIENCIES. THEN ON TOP OF THAT, IT’S
IMPORTANT TO POINT OUT NONE OF THIS IS TARGETING ANY SORTS OF
VEHICLE. NOT TARGETING EVs. NOT TARGETING HYBRIDS. THE PURPOSE IS TO KIND OF
MAKE, FIND A FAIR AND EQUITABLE WAY TO WHERE
EVERYBODY PAYS FOR WHAT THEY’RE DRIVING. FOR THE MILEAGE THAT THEY’RE
DRIVING. AND NOT FOR HOW MUCH GAS
THEY’RE BURNING. WE ALL KNOW THAT THERE’S
TRAFFIC IN HAWAIʻI. ESPECIALLY COMING FROM REP
HAR’S DISTRICT ANYBODY WHO COMES IN THE MORNING,
COMMUTE, 20-MILES TO GET FROM KAPOLEI TO DOWNTOWN. IT DOESN’T TAKE 20 MINUTES IN
THE PEAK MORNING AND AFTERNOON COMMUTES. SITTING IN TRAFFIC, THEY ARE
ALSO BURNING FUEL AND CONGESTION AND THINGS. SO IN THIS CASE, IN THE ROAD
USAGE CHARGE, IT WILL BREAK DID OUT MORE EVENLY JUST BASED
ON THE MILEAGE THAT YOU DRIVE.>>Yunji: SO YOU PAY FOR WHAT
YOU USE.>>YOU PAY FOR WHAT YOU DRIVE.>>Yunji: MATT FROM KAHALA HAS
A QUESTION. CONGESTION PRICES. PRICING. CITIES LIKE LONDON AND NEW
YORK HAVE SUCCESSFULLY CONGESTION PRICING SYSTEM. HAS THE DEPARTMENT OF
TRANSPORTATION CONSIDERED THIS SYSTEM?>>ALSO IMPORTANT POINT OUT,
AS FAR AS THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION GOES, WE
WOULDN’T EVEN BE LOOKING AT THIS IF WE DIDN’T HAVE TO. MENTIONED, FUEL TAX IS VERY
EFFICIENT WAY TO COLLECT REVENUE. LIKE YOU SAID. WE GO TO THE GAS PUMP. SPEND 40, SIXTY DOLLARS OR
WHATEVER YOU DRIVE AWAY AND I VENTURE TO GUESS, MOST PEOPLE
HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH THEY JUST SPEND ON THE STATE FUEL
TAX SHARE. IT’S COLLECTED RIGHT THERE. SO LOOKING AT THE ROAD USAGE
CHARGE, IT IS CONTROVERSIAL AND IT IS GOING TO BE MUCH MORE
DIFFICULT TO COLLECT TO IMPLEMENT AND TO ENFORCE. IT’S ONE OF THOSE THINGS,
TRYING TO, LOOK AHEAD, SOLVE THIS HIT THIS PROBLEM NOW, OR
AT LEAST START STUDYING IT NOW BEFORE WE GET TOO FAR DOWN THE
ROAD.>>Yunji: HOW WOULD WE
IMPLEMENT THIS? QUARTERLY CHARGE, GET A BILL
LIKE AN ELECTRIC BILL? WRAP IT INTO YOUR
REGISTRATION? TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS ALL AT
ONCE WOULD BE PRETTY TOUGH FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE.>>ABSOLUTELY. THAT’S THE WHOLE POINTS OF THE
PILOT PROGRAM. REALLY FLESH OUT AND SEE WHAT
OTHER STATES HAVE DONE. BEST PRACTICES ARE. FINDING OTHER STATES, IF YOU
LOOK AT SOME OF THE OTHER STATES, COMPLETED THEIR PILOT
PROGRAM, THERE WAS A LOT OF CHEATING ON THE ODOMETER. PEOPLE WERE PULLING BACK ON
THEIR ODOMETER SO THEY WOULDN’T HAVE TO PAY. SO THERE’S REALLY THE
ENFORCEMENT ISN’T THERE. THE COMPLIANCE MAY NOT BE
THERE. GPS SYSTEMS, USING GPS
SYSTEMS, OFTENTIMES W WHETHER YOU’RE IN YOUR CAR, GPS WENT
OUT. START DRIVING, ALL OF A
SUDDEN, GPS FOR WHATEVER REASON STARTED A NEW TRIP OR
WHATEVER. FIND BEING MULTITUDE OF
PROBLEMS WITH ACTUAL SYSTEMS THAT THEY USED SO FAR ON THE
MAINLAND. I’M SORRY, YOUR POINT I WANTED
TO ANSWER THE CALLER QUESTION REGARDING CONGESTION
PRICING. WHOLE SEPARATE ISSUE. USED WHEN YOU’RE TALKING
ABOUT TRAFFIC, TRY TO DISINCENTIVIZE PEOPLE FROM
DRIVING DURING PEAK HOURS. SEPARATE ISSUE THAT DEALS
SPECIFICALLY WITH THE DECLINING REVENUES IN THE
STATE HIGHWAY FUND AND HOW TO ENSURE THAT THE STATE IS
BRINGING IN SOME TYPE OF REVENUE.>>Yunji: TO YOUR POINTS ON
CHEATING, TED IN KONA SAID, SOME VEHICLES ON THE ROAD HAVE
EXPIRED REGISTRATION. SAVING 16 CENTS GAS TAX
BECAUSE THEY DON’T PAY YEARLY REGISTRATION WHERE I PRESUME
MILEAGE TAX WILL BE ADDED. HOW DO YOU GET AROUND THE
CHEATERS?>>ACTUALLY REALLY GOOD
QUESTION. ACTUALITY, THERE IS NOT THAT
MUCH CHEATING WHEN IT COMES TO ODOMETER TURN BACK. BECAUSE THERE ARE LARGE
PENALTIES FOR IT. SO TYPICALLY, IS NOT WORTH IT. SOME PEOPLE DO IT WHEN THEY
WANT TO SELL A VEHICLE BECAUSE THAT’S WHEN YOU MIGHT
ACTUALLY WANT TO TRY TO SAVE MONEY ON IT. ABOUT YOU WE’VE SEEN THAT
TURNING BACK ODOMETER IS LESS THAN 1%. THERE’S PRISON TIME THAT CAN
COME WITH IT. STATE PENALTIES. FEDERAL PENALTIES. ACTUALLY NONE OF THE ROAD
USAGE CHARGE PROGRAMS TO DATE HAVE LOOKED AT ENFORCEMENT
BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT EITHER PILOT OR THEY’RE
VOLUNTARY PROGRAMS. SO MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT LOOKING
TO TRY TO CHEAT AT IT POINT. THE PILOTS ARE LOOKING
THEORETICALLY AT HOW TO ENFORCE A ROAD USAGE CHARGE. THERE’S A LOT OF THINGS THAT
CAN BE DONE IN THAT SENSE. SO NICE THING ABOUT HAWAIʻI IS
THAT WE HAVE A VEHICLE INSPECTION WHERE WE ARE
LOOKING AT EVERYBODY’S ODOMETER READING WITH THEIR
SAFETY INSPECTION. SO KIND OF CHEWS IT UP. EVERYBODY IS LOOKING AT YOUR
ODOMETER.>>BIGGEST EFFICIENCY RIGHT
NOW IS THE ODOMETER PROGRAM IN THE OTHER STATE, IT CAN’T
TRACK JURISDICTIONAL ISSUES. IF I AM ON A FEDERAL OR STATE
ROAD OR PRIVATE ROAD, SHOULDN’T YOU ONLY BE PAYING
FOR THE STATE ROAD? ODOMETER IS NOT CAPABLE OF
TELLING ME WHICH ROAD, THEREFORE, NOT CAPABLE OF
TELLING ME, HOW MUCH I SHOULD BE PAYING FOR WHICH SEGMENT
I’M USING.>>Yunji: INCREDIBLY
COMPLICATED.>>VERY. THAT’S WHY THE ODOMETER IS
SYSTEM IS NOT ONE THE BEST. EXACTLY HOW THE GAS TAX WORKS. WE DON’T TRACK WHERE THE GAS
IS CONSUMED. EXACTLY THE SAME THING. GAS TAX WAS MEANT TO BE PROXY
FOR HOW MUCH YOU DRIVE. IT WAS KIND OF LIKE A ROAD
USAGE CHARGE IN THE FIRST PLACE WHEN ALL VEHICLES
PRETTY MUCH GOT THE SAME FUEL EFFICIENCY. SO NOW, WE SAY, OKAY, LOOK,
FUEL EFFICIENCY IS ALL OVER THE BOARD NOW. LET’S GO BACK TO WHAT WE
INTENDED PAY BY THE MILE. LOOK AT JUST NOT LOOK FOR A
PROXY, BUT ACTUALLY PAY BY THE MILE BY LOOKING AT THE
ODOMETER.>>WE’RE PAYING THE FEDERAL
GAS STAKES, STATE GAS TAX AND COUNTY GAS TAX. ALL OF THOSE LEVELS. REGARDLESS OF WHAT ROAD
YOU’RE DRIVING ON, YOU’RE PAYING THE TAX FOR THAT ROAD.>>Yunji: WHEN CAN HE EXPECT TO
SEE THE LETTER AND HOW MANY PEOPLE IN HAWAIʻI WILL GET ONE
OF THOSE?>>LETTERS WILL START GOING
OUT IN NOVEMBER. BASICALLY, 4 TO 6 WEEKS AFTER
YOU GET YOUR VEHICLE INSPECTION. THAT’S LIKELY WHEN YOU’LL GET
YOUR LETTER OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS. TRYING TO HIT AS MANY PEOPLE
AS POSSIBLE AS LONG AS RIGHT NOW, FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU HAVE
A NEW VEHICLE, WON’T HAVE TWO READINGS. WON’T BE ABLE TO SEND YOU A
LETTER. TRYING NOT TO SEND TOO MANY
LETTERS TO PEOPLE. IF YOU’RE MULTIVEHICLE
HOUSEHOLD, WE’LL TRY TO MINIMIZE THE NUMBER OF
LETTERS THAT ARE SENT OUT. SO TRYING TO AIM FOR 500,000
HOUSEHOLDS TRY TO REACH AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE WITH
THIS OUTREACH INFORMATION TO LET THEM KNOW ABOUT THE STUDY,
RE REALLY WANT TO HEAR FROM THEM ABOUT WHAT THEY’RE
SEEING ON THE PAPER, IF THEY HAVE QUESTIONS, MORE ABOUT
TRANSPORTATION FUNDING SO WE CAN HAVE EDUCATED
CONVERSATION ABOUT IT.>>Yunji: DAVE FROM THE BIG
ISLAND, TERRIBLE IDEA. IT WILL BE REQUIRE NEW
BUREAUCRACY. DISCOURAGE PURCHASE OF
ELECTRIC AND FUEL EFFICIENT VEHICLES. IT’S RIPE FOR CORRUPTION. DO YOU THINK THIS IS ENOUGH OF
AFTER INCENTIVE TO ACTUALLY PUSH PEOPLE TO BUY A DIFFERENT
KIND OF CAR?>>IT ISN’T HUGE. BUT IT IS JUST KIND OF ANOTHER
STEP IN A DIRECTION THAT IS NOT PRO FUEL EFFICIENCY OR
FUEL, OR ELECTRIC VEHICLES. WE DID HAVE THAT FIFTY DOLLARS
CHARGE PUT ON AND KIND TAXATION ON TOP OF THAT. IT IS SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE
THINK ABOUT. THEY DON’T PAY FOR GAS. SAVE ON TAXES. OF COURSE, I DO THINK THEY
SHOULD BE CONTRIBUTING, BUT I THINK THAT THERE ARE OTHER
SYSTEMS WE CAN BE LOOKING AT THIS OTHER THAN THIS WHERE CAN
HE WITH STILL BE INCENTIVIZING ELECTRIC
VEHICLES. IF THIS, I UNDERSTAND THIS IS
JUST A PILOT. BUT IF THIS WERE TO GO THROUGH
AND BE IMPLEMENTED IN TEN YEARS, OR HOWEVER LONG IT
WOULD TAKE FOR THIS TO ACTUALLY COME TO FRUITION, IT
WOULD HAVE TO BE COMPLEMENTED BY SOME SORT OF POLICY TO
REINCENTIVIZE FUEL EFFICIENCY AND RE-ESTABLISH
THAT DYNAMIC BECAUSE RIGHT NOW, FUEL EFFICIENT VEHICLES
DO SAVE, BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE TO BUY AS MUCH GAS. THAT’S GREAT. WHETHER THAT’S A CARBON TAX OR
WHETHER THAT’S TIERED SYSTEM, BASED ON FUEL EFFICIENCY,
CREATING SOME SORT OF COMPLIMENTARY POLICY IF IT
WOULD BE A FLAT FEE.>>Yunji: HAVE YOU CONSIDERED
ANY OTHER OPTIONS BESIDE A ROAD USAGE CHARGE? WE SAW THE NUMBERS AT THE TOP. MONEY HAS TO COME FROM
SOMEWHERE. IF NOT ROAD USAGE CHARGE. THEN WHAT?>>THING ABOUT THIS, THERE’S
A LOT OF DIFFERENT WAYS YOU COULD GO WITH IT. ROAD USAGE CHARGE. COULD YOU HAVE FLAT FEES FOR
VARIOUS VEHICLES. WHETHER EV OR EVEN IF YOU
WANTED TO HAVE LIKE A GAS GUZZLER, SOMETHING THAT GETS
15 MILES PER HOUR OR LESS, ALSO HAS A FLAT FEE TO TRY TO
FADE THOSE VEHICLES OUT. THAT COULD ALSO BE CONSTRUED
AS PICKING ON LOW INCOME OR RURAL AS WELL. BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE A LOT OF
THE BIG PICK-UP TRUCKS ARE AS WELL. YOU HAVE TO BE SENSITIVE ABOUT
ANY FEES YOU TACK ON. A LOT OF DIFFERENT WAYS THAT
CAN GO. FORTUNATELY FOR US, WE’RE NOT
TRYING TO SELL ANYBODY. IT WILL BE UP TO THE LAWMAKERS
TO MAKE THE HARD DECISIONS ON WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST AND
MOST PRUDENT OR FAIR WAY TO IMPLEMENT IT. IF THERE SHOULD BE ANYTHING
ELSE TACKED ON TO IT OR FEE HERE OR SOMETHING ELSE THERE,
TO COLLECT THAT EXTRA REVENUE.>>Yunji: WHAT HAVE YOU HEARD
IN SUPPORT? WE’VE HEARD A LOT AGAINST
THIS. WHAT HAVE YOU HEARD IN SUPPORT
OF THIS AS YOU GO OUT INTO THE COMMUNITY? ARE PEOPLE SAYING THAT IS
POSITIVE?>>QUIETER FOLKS IN THE
GROUPS, COME UP AFTER THE MEETING, REALLY GREAT IDEA. REALLY GLAD THAT D.O.T. IS
LOOKING AT THIS PROACTIVELY. SO THERE’S A LOT OF SUPPORT
FOR THE PROJECT. THE FACT THEY’RE LOOKING
AHEAD. FOR SOME SORT OF STABLE
FUNDING MECHANISM. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT
THEY’VE SEEN A LOT OF OTHER STATE DOES. SO PEOPLE ARE KIND OF GLAD TO
SEE EVEN IF WE DO ACHIEVE OUR STATE GOALS OF BEING MORE
ENERGY CLEANER ENERGY, AND FUEL EFFICIENT, THAT THERE IS
SOME WAY TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR ROADS WILL STILL BE TAKEN CARE
OF AND WE HAVE ROADS THAT EVERYBODY CAN KIND OF ENJOY,
RIDES ON.>>Yunji: SARAH IN KANEOHE
THINKS THAT THE FEES ARE ACTUALLY TOO LOW. SHE AND HER HUSBAND DRIVE
ELECTRIC CARS AND FEEL THEY DON’T PAY ENOUGH. ALL FEES SHOULD BE INCREASED
FOR ALL CARS. WEIGHT, REGISTRATION, ALL
FEES. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE
FORMULA IN TERMS OF WHAT TO CHARGE?>>SO FOR THE STUDY, RATE THAT
WAS CHOSEN WAS SIMPLY A SWITCH IN THE MECHANISM. SO IT’S NOT LOOKING TO
INCREASE REVENUE. THE SIMPLY TO TAKE A LOOK AT
WHAT IS BROUGHT IN BY THE GAS TAX.
AND THE RATE WAS SET SO THAT IT BRINGS NEXT EXACTLY THE
SAME REVENUE. BASED ON AVERAGE VEHICLE,
THAT TURNS OUT TO BE THE 16 CENTS PER MILE GAS TAX
CONVERTS TO A .008, .8 CENTS PER MILE RATE.>>Yunji: YOU SAID THE FEES
HAVEN’T GONE UP SINCE THE 1990s?>>FUEL TAX. WELL, THE FUEL TAX IS THE SAME
AS IT WAS IN 1991. IN 2007, 2015, IT GO UP ONE
CENT TO 17 CENTS. 2015, REPEALED, BACK DOWN. SPELL IN THERE WHERE IT WAS 17
CENTS. NOW IT’S BACK DOWN TO 16
CENTS.>>Yunji: EVEN WITH THIS, WILL
IT BE ENOUGH?>>THAT THE THING. EVEN WITH THIS, NOT LIKE THIS
IS GOING TO MAKE A LOT OF MONEY FOR THE D.O.T. STAYING THE SAME. IF WE DON’T DO ANYTHING NOW,
AND WE DON’T HAVE THIS OTHER REVENUE, THE FUEL TAX, KIND OF
GETS BACK TO THE LAST QUESTION AS WELL, ALTERNATIVES, WELL,
ALTERNATIVE IS TO KEEP THE FUEL TAX THE SAME, BUT IT’S
GOING TO HAVE TO DOUBLE BY THE YEAR 2030, 2035 COMES AROUND. JUST TO STAY EVEN, JUST TO
STAY FLAT FROM WHERE WE ARE NOW. THAT COULD ALSO BE CONSTRUED
AS NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN, THE LOW END INCOME ARE PAYING MORE OF
THE BRUNT BECAUSE NOW THEY’RE PAYING EVEN HIGHER FUEL TAX.>>Yunji: HOW DO WE BALANCE
THIS?>>I WOULD COUNTER THAT A
LITTLE BIT. I FIND THAT HARD TO BELIEVE
THAT OUR TWO OPTIONS ARE ROAD USER CHARGE OR GAS TAX. THERE ARE OTHER EXAMPLES OF
SYSTEMS THAT EXIST IN OTHER PLACES. WHETHER IT’S BASING IT SOLELY
OFF THE WEIGHT OF THE VEHICLE AND RAISING THOSE FEES. THERE ARE OTHER WAY DOES THIS. I DON’T LIKE THE DUALITY OF
ONE OR THE OTHER. WHEN CALLER ARE ASKING THERE
ARE OTHER OPTIONS. THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS THAT
COULD BE EXPLORED.>>AND THERE ARE. BUT NONE OF THEM ARE GOING TO
BE SIMPLE. ALL GOING TO BE CONTROVERSIAL
LIKE THIS. THE CONGESTION CHARGE WOULD
BE CONTROVERSIAL. TOLL ROADS CONTROVERSIAL. MOST LIKELY NOT AN OPTION
HERE. ANOTHER SITUATION WHERE IT
MIGHT WORK ON MAINLAND BUT NOT GOING TO WORK IN HAWAIʻI. YEAH, THERE’S OTHER ONES BUT
DOESN’T MAKE IT ANY EASIER. ALL GOING TO BE VERY
DIFFICULT. THAT THE THE REALITY WE’RE IN
RIGHT NOW. AGAIN, WE’RE JUST TRYING TO
FIX THIS AND ADDRESS THIS ISSUE BEFORE IT BECOMES A
CRISIS.>>Yunji: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS
A BETTER WAY GO? YOU HEARD FROM YOUR
CONSTITUENTS. FEEL LIKE THEY’RE BEING
TARGETED. WHAT IS A WAY TO MAKE SURE THAT
THE D.O.T. HAS ENOUGH MONEY
WHILE NOT NECESSARILY TARGETING COMMUNITIES LIKE
YOURS?>>I THINK FIRST AND FOREMOST,
REALLY DO HAVE TO LOOK AT FOUR DEDICATED REVENUE SOURCES. ONE OF THE ISSUES THAT I’VE
ALWAYS ADVOCATED FOR IS RAISING THE RENTAL CAR
SURCHARGE. HERE IN STATE OF HAWAIʻI, IF
YOU RENT A CAR, YOU PAY $7.50 A DAY. TOURISM IS THE NUMBER ONE
INDUSTRY, THEY’RE PAYING UP TO $19 A DAY. ISSUE HERE CAN BE COST
PROHIBIT I HAVE BEEN FOR NEIGHBOR ISLANDS. WE DON’T WANT TO THAT. BUT THAT’S DEFINITELY
SOMETHING I THINK WE SHOULD LOOK AT. WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT
RAISING RENTAL VEHICLE SURCHARGE. ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES WITH
ROAD USAGE CHARGE THAT THE OTHER PILOT PROGRAMS ARE
FINDING, IN CALIFORNIA, ONE OF THE BIGGEST CRITICISMS WAS
THIS THEY WEREN’T CAPTURING OUT OF STATE DRIVERS OR
TOURISTS. WITH TOURISM BEING OUR NUMBER
ONE INDUSTRY, OUR TOURISTS, UTILIZE OUR ROADS. THEY CAUSE DAMAGE TO OUR
ROADS, AND IF THEY’RE NOT PAYING THE FUEL TAX OR VIA
SOMETHING, HOW EXACTLY, WE’RE NOT CAPTURING THAT TAX. THAT FEE FROM THEM. SO ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES
I HAVE, 2018, LOOK AT OUR NUMBERS, 10 MILLION VISITORS
TO THE STATE OF HAWAIʻI. ACCORDING TO HAWAIʻI TOURISM
AUTHORITY, DEPENDING ON WHERE THE VISITOR COME FROM. 80 TO 90% OF OUR TOURISTS RENT
CARS. 8.5 MILLION DRIVERS WHO WOULD
NOT BE CHARGED ROAD USAGE CHARGE. THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. THAT IS A MAJOR DEFICIENCY OF
THE PROGRAM. THESE ARE THE KINDS OF THINGS
THAT WE HAVE TO LOOK AT AND ADDRESS. IF WE CANNOT, THIS IS A
PROGRAM THAT SHOULD NOT BE IMPLEMENTED.>>Yunji: DON’T THEY PAY ROAD
USAGE CHARGE, RENTAL COMPANIES WILL BE CHARGED
FEE.>>IT’S SEPARATED FUNDING
SOURCE. SOMETHING THAT COMES INTO
THE, STILL COMES INTO THE STATE HIGHWAY FUND. AGAIN, THE FUEL TAX IS WHAT
ACCOUNTS FOR ANY TYPE OF ROAD MAINTENANCE, REPAIRS, USAGE. THOSE TYPE OF THINGS. SO IF OUR VISITORS ARE PAYING
FOR THAT, PAYING VIA ROAD USAGE CHARGE, PAYING SIMPLE
TAX, RENTAL VEHICLE SURCHARGE. THEY STILL HAVE TO BE
CONTRIBUTING TOWARD PAYING FOR THE ROADS WHICH THEY WON’T
BE.>>Yunji: WHAT ABOUT CHARGING
VISITORS A LITTLE BIT MORE?>>YEAH, WELL, IT IS IMPORTANT
TO POINT OUT, RENTAL CARS WILL HAVE TO PAY THE ROAD USAGE
CHARGE. WHETHER IT COME FROM THE
RENTAL CAR COMPANY PAYING IT OUTRIGHT AND RAISING MAYBE
THE COST PER DAY, OR SOMEHOW PASSING IT ON TO THE CUSTOMER. THAT THE RENTING THAT CAR. THAT IS A FACTOR. AS FAR AS CHARGING THE
VISITOR, YOU KNOW, CERTAINLY, THAT’S BEEN LOOKED AT AND
DONE. WE APPRECIATE THE LEGISLATURE
FOR RAISING VEHICLE CAR RENTAL SURCHARGE AS WELL. IT’S SOMETHING WE SUPPORTED
AND DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION WOULD LOOK
CERTAINLY AT ANY PROPOSAL TO PUT PLACE MORE OF THE BURDEN
ON THE VISITORS. IF THAT CAME UP AT THE STATE
CAPITOL.>>Yunji: WHY NOT JUST FIND A
FORMULA THAT CHARGES ELECTRIC VEHICLES EQUIVALENT CHARGE
AND NOT DISTURB THE TAXING FOR OTHER CARS? IT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE THAT
WOULD BE ENOUGH TO OFFSET THESE REVENUE LOSSES AND IT
GOES TO YOUR POINT OF TRYING TO INCENTIVIZE PEOPLE TO BE
MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY.>>I THINK THAT WOULD AGREE,
THIS IS NOT BECAUSE OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES
EXPLICITLY. FUEL EFFICIENCY ACROSS THE
BOARD IS THE CONVERSATION THAT ARE HAVING. ALSO, I THINK WE’RE TAKING FOR
GRANTED WE’RE GOING TO REACH OUR GOALS. CLIMATE CHANGE IS SERIOUS AND
PENDING ISSUE. FOR US IN HAWAIʻI. ADDRESSING THAT IN THE SHORT
TERM. DON’T HAVE A LONG TIME TO SORT
IT OUT. WE NEED TO GET TO 100%
RENEWABLE GROUND TRANSPORTATION AND IN ORDER
TO DO THAT, WE NEED THE STATE INCENTIVIZE THAT. TALKING ON FEES OR GOING
SPECIFICALLY AFTER ELECTRIC VEHICLES THAT’S IT’S NOT
SOLUTION. 85-YEAR-OLD WITH A BIG OLD
CAR. LIKE THE USAGE CHARGE AS SHE
DOES VERY LOW MILEAGE WITH A HEAVY CAR. FOR SENIORS LIKE HER, THIS
WOULD ACTUALLY BE A REALLY GOOD THING. RIGHT NOW, YES. UNDER THE GAS TAX, SHE MAY
ACTUALLY BE PAYING MORE THAN HER FAIR SHARE BECAUSE THEY
DRIVES FUEL INEFFICIENT VEHICLE. WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO. KIND WHAT HAVE KIND OF VEHICLE
YOU’RE DRIVING. IN THE LONG RUN, STILL HAVE
THE ROADS AND THE NETWORK THAT EVERYBODY NEEDS TO MOVE
AROUND AND THE ISLAND. REPRESENTATIVE HAR,
MENTIONED THAT THIS A $4 MILLION GRANT PAID BY THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. YOU JUST FINISHED YEAR ONE. TELL US ABOUT THE NEXT 2
YEARS, WHAT WE CAN EXPECT FROM THE PROJECT.>>ABSOLUTELY. FIRST THING IS THE DRIVING
REPORT. GOING TO BE SENT OUT OVER THE
NEXT YEAR. AS PEOPLE GET THEIR VEHICLE
INSPECTIONS, THOSE START GETTING DRIVING REPORTS, TAKE
IN THE SURVEY RESULTS AND START TO ANALYZE THEM. RECRUITING FOR THE TECHNOLOGY
PORTION OF THE PILOT. SO THE VEHICLE INSPECTION,
THAT’S ON ANNUAL BASIS, AND THERE ARE OTHER TECHNOLOGIES
THAT HAVE BEEN TRIED IN OTHER STATES, FOR EXAMPLE. PLUG IN DEVICE. THAT WILL JUST AUTOMATICALLY
REPORT YOUR MILEAGE. SO MAYBE MAKES IT MORE EASY,
EASIER TO MAKE MORE FREQUENT PAYMENTS. BECAUSE IT’S CONSTANTLY KIND
OF REPORTS HOW MANY MILES YOU’VE DRIVEN. WON’T HAVE TO ACTUALLY
CONSTANTLY GOING BACK TO YOUR VEHICLE INSPECTION OR
SOMETHING LIKE THAT. THERE’S ALSO ONE THAT
REPORTS, HAS A GPS ON IT. REPORTS WHERE YOUR MILES ARE
DRIVEN. ONE OF THE EXEMPTIONS THAT
OTHER STATES HAVE LOOKED AT IS MAYBE EXEMPT PRIVATE ROADS OR
OFF ROADING MILES SO THOSE MILES AREN’T CHARGED ROAD
USAGE CHARGE.>>Yunji: PRIVACY CONCERNS
THERE? I DON’T KNOW HOW I WOULD FEEL
ABOUT EVERYBODY GETTING TO HAVE A GPS IN MY CAR.>>COMPLETELY OPTIONAL. THAT’S WHY ONE OF THE OPTIONS. SHOULD SOMEBODY BE INTERESTED
IN REPORTING OR WHERE THEY’RE DRIVING FOR THE BENEFIT OF
THAT EXEMPTION. ALWAYS A BACK UP VEHICLE
INSPECTION. THIRD TECHNOLOGY IS YOU TAKE
YOUR SMARTPHONE AND TAKE A PICTURE OF YOUR ODOMETER. NO LOCATION. OTHER THAN WHERE THE PHOTO WAS
TAKEN. SHOWING HAWAIʻI ODOMETER IN
THE RIGHT PLACE. RECRUITING VOLUNTEERS,
2000 VOLUNTEERS. HOPEFULLY WE GET 500 FROM EACH
OF THE ISLANDS SO WE GET REPRESENTATIVES WHAT PEOPLE
THINK, LIKED IT, TRIED. ONCE YOU GET HANDS ON
EXPERIENCE, THEN YOUR FEEDBACK IS OF THAT MUCH MORE
RELEVANT TO HOW YOU MIGHT WANT TO SEE A ROAD USAGE CHARGE
DESIGNED.>>YOU TOUCHED UPON SOMETHING
OTHER STATES ARE FINDING. BECAUSE THE DATA SECURITY AND
PRIVACY CONCERNS GPS TRACKING SYSTEM, MANY STATES ARE
HAVING TO DEAL WITH THAT BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE NOT
COMFORTABLE GOVERNMENT KNOWING WHERE THEY’RE ARE,
WHAT TIME, WHERE THEY’RE GOING. ET CETERA. STATES ARE HAVING DO IS HERE
A THIRD-PARTY. ADDS TO ANOTHER ISSUE ROAD
USAGE CHARGE. ADMINISTRATION OF THIS
PROGRAM WOULD COST MORE MONEY THAN THE FUEL TAX.>>Yunji: WOULDN’T THAT BE
WRAPPED IN YOUR VEHICLE INSPECTION, SO THEY’RE DOING
THAT ANYWAY? GETTING THAT READING? DOESN’T ADD ANY EXTRA BURDEN.>>IT DOES. IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA.>>ADMINISTER GAS TAX, ONLY
COSTS FOR THE STATE IS ONLY HALF A PERCENT OF THEIR TOTAL
TAX REVENUE FROM THE GAS TAX. TO COLLECT THE CHARGE FROM THE
ROAD USAGE CHARGE, COSTING THEM ANYWHERE BETWEEN 5 AND
10%. REALLY MECHANISM. IN WHICH YOU CHOOSE TO DO IT. HOPEFULLY, IF WE WERE TO GO IN
THAT DIRECTION, TRY TO DO THE LEAST COST, TRY TO OBVIOUSLY
GO THE MOST COST-EFFECTIVE ROUTE. WHEN THAT SAID, BEEN ONE OF
THE MAJOR PITFALLS OF THE ROAD USAGE CHARGE ADMINISTRATION
OF THE PROGRAM. COSTING MORE.>>AS TIM SAID, THIS THIS
WASN’T THE ISSUE WITH THE GAS TAX, DECLINING, THEN
BASICALLY, THE GAS TAX IS LEAST EXPENSIVE WAY TO
COLLECTION A TAX. PRETTY MUCH GATHERED,
COLLECTED FROM THE DISTRIBUTERS. NOT MANY PEOPLE YOU HAVE TO
COLLECT FROM. 1 PERCENT RANGE. GIVEN EVERYBODY SEEING
DECREASE IN OVERALL REVENUE, NO ALTERNATIVE OTHER THAN TO
LOOK AT OTHER OPTIONS. SO HAWAIʻI DOES HAVE THE
BENEFIT THAT WE ALREADY HAVE THE VEHICLE INSPECTION,
ODOMETER READ BUILT IN. THAT’S WHY THERE’S ACTUALLY A
LOT OF EYES ON HOW HAWAIʻI DOES IT BECAUSE SOME STATES
DON’T HAVE VEHICLE INSPECTION. OTHERS HAVE EMISSIONS
INSPECTIONS. DOES THIS PROCESS ACTUALLY
HELP TO BRING DOWN THE PRICE TO SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY
ADMINISTRATIVE COST IS REALLY LOW. FOR EXAMPLE, IN NEW ZEALAND,
THEY’VE ACTUALLY HAD A HEAVY-DUTY ROAD USAGE CHARGE
IN PLACE FOR A LONG TIME. THEY’RE LOOK AT SOMEWHERE
LIKE 4% IN TERMS OF ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS. THAT’S SOMETHING THAT MIGHT
BE PALATABLE.>>Yunji: IN TERMS HOW THE FEE
WOULD BE LEVIED, LONG WAY OFF TO FIGURE OUT HOW THAT
HAPPENS, WOULD IT BE ANNUAL CHARGE THAT GETS WRAPPED IN
YOUR REGISTRATION OR HOW WOULD THEY DO THAT?>>ONE OF THE THINGS WE’RE
LOOKING AT AS PART OF THE STUDY IS TAKING A LOOK AT THE
COMPREHENSIVE, HOW DO I PAY FOR YOUR FEES? TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR FEES. REGISTRATION. ALL OF ADDED UP, MIGHT TOTAL
BILL AT THE END OF THE YEAR LAST YEAR WAS $800 FOR MY CAR. SO YOU ADD ON A ROAD USAGE
CHARGE. THERE GIVES A LITTLE BIT HIGH
AND STEEP. DO WE EVEN TAKE A LOOK AT ALL
OF THOSE FEES AND MAYBE PUT THEM ALL UP OVER QUARTERS OR
MONTHLY. MAYBE THAT WILL MAKE IT A LOT
MORE ACCEPTABLE IN THE LONG RUN. IN TERMS OF JUST HOW WE PAY FOR
OUR TRANSPORTATION.>>Yunji: DO YOU THINK THAT
WOULD MAKE IT MORE PALATABLE FOR YOUR CONSTITUENTS?>>ABSOLUTELY NOT. BOTH YOU AND TIM ADMITTED THAT
IT’S JUST AN EASY, GO TO THE PUMP, FILL OUT YOUR GAS TANK. THAT’S IT. NOT THINKING ABOUT IT. YOU KNOW PRICE IS FOR THE
GALLON. GOVERNMENT IS FIGURING OUT
WHICH GOES IT TO FEDERAL, STATE, COUNTY. TO GET ANOTHER BILL ON TOP OF
ALL OF THE OTHER COSTS OF LIVING ISSUES THAT PEOPLE IN
THE STATE OF HAWAIʻI ARE DEALING WITH, THAT IS GOING TO
PUT PEOPLE OVER THE EDGE. THAT’S WHY MANY OF THESE
COMMUNITY MEETINGS, THERE HAS BEEN SUCH OUTRAGE. PEOPLE HAVE REACTED. I THINK THAT I WANT TO THINK
THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAVE COME OUT BECAUSE THEY FEEL NICKELED
AND DIMED TO DEATH AND ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF PEOPLE FEELING
LIKE GOVERNMENT IS NOT WORKING FOR THE PEOPLE.>>Yunji: MICAH IN MILILANI
SAYS, QUESTION FOR TIM. SINCE YOU RECOGNIZE OTHER
OPTIONS, WHY ARE YOU HANGING YOUR HAT ON THE USAGE CHARGE? DO YOU THINK THIS IS THE ONLY
WAY?>>FIRST OF ALL, D.O.T. IS NOT
TRYING TO SELL ANYBODY ON THIS. REALLY A PROPOSAL AND
DEMONSTRATION. SO WHILE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT
IT, POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE TO THE FUEL TAX, IT’S NOT LIKE
WE’RE OUT THERE TRYING TO SELL PEOPLE ON THIS IDEA. TRYING TO
FIND SOMETHING THAT COULD BE FAIR AND EQUITABLE FOR ALL
DRIVERS NO MATTER WHAT VEHICLE THEY’RE DRIVING. BUT ALL OF THIS DISCUSSION
BRINGS UP ANOTHER GOOD POINT ON ONCE THEY GET THAT DRIVING
REPORT, WE DO WANT PEOPLE, DON’T TREAT IT LIKE JUNK MAIL. READ IT AND TELL US THAT
FEEDBACK. ALL OF THIS FEEDBACK. LOOK AT THE QUESTIONS WE’RE
GETTING. NOT TO GET TO THEM ALL. WE WANT TO HEAR THAT FEEDBACK. WHEN THEY GET THE DRIVER’S
REPORT, SEE GO TO HIGH RUC.ORG AND FILL OUT THE SURVEY. LET US KNOW. LET US HAVE IT IF YOU WANT. IF YOU ABSOLUTELY HATE THIS
IDEA, THAT’S GOOD. WE WANT TO HEAR ALL OF THOSE
THINGS. AGAIN, IT’S NOT GOING TO BE
TO D.O.T. TO SAY YAY OR NO. GO UP THE STATE CAPITOL. LAWMAKERS ARE GOING TO VOTE
FOR IT. IF THEY APPROVE IT, GO TO THE
GOVERNOR FOR FINAL SIGNATURE. THERE’S A LOT OF THAT HAS TO
HAPPEN. UNTIL THAT POINT, WE WANT TO
HEAR ALL OF THAT FEEDBACK.>>Yunji: OKAY. NUUANU HAS A QUESTION FOR
REPRESENTATIVE HAR. ON THE EFFECT OF RAIL. WHAT RAIL BUILT, MANY CARS
WILL GET OFF THE ROAD. HOW DO YOU THINK RAIL WILL
EFFECT THESE FEES?>>I THINK THAT’S A WHOLE
ANOTHER TOPIC. OF FOR DISCUSSION. WHOLE ANOTHER SHOW. I THINK ACTUALLY, WHAT GOING
BACK TO THE QUESTION REGARDING RAIL, I MEAN,
WHETHER RAIL DOES IN FACT DO WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO DO, IF YOU
LOOK AT THE RESEARCH, RAIL IS NOT SUPPOSED TO LOWER AMOUNT
OF TRAFFIC. IDEALLY, WITH THE POPULATION
GROWTH, WE’RE NOT ACTUALLY LOOKING AT RAIL REDUCING.>>IT’S JUST DEALING WITH
POPULATION GROWTHS. WHETHER IT’S OF FACT HAS ANY
EFFECT ON THE ROAD USAGE CHARGE, GOES TO MY BIGGER
POINT. PEOPLE DON’T TRUST GOVERNMENT
RIGHT NOW. AND SO AGAIN, TO IMPLEMENT A
SEPARATE PROGRAM LIKE THIS, WITH HIGH COST OF LIVING,
PEOPLE, WE PAY THE FOURTH HIGHEST GAS TAX IN THE NATION. YET OUR ROADS ARE CONSIDERED
SOME. WORST. NOT REFLECTION ON THE
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. PEOPLE ARE FED UP. SO ONE FORTUNATELY LOOK AT
RAIL. WE WERE TOLD YES, MOST
EXPENSIVE PUBLIC WORKS PROJECT IN THE STATE HAWAIʻI. WHAT’S HAPPEN TO DO IN TERMS
OF COST. JUST PART AND PARCEL OF PEOPLE
BEING WARY OF GOVERNMENT AND GOVERNMENT’S FAILURE TO THE
PEOPLE.>>Yunji: HOW THINK PUBLIC
TRANSPORTATION WILL IMPACT THIS? THERE WILL BE MONEY ADJUSTED
IN DIFFERENT WAYS. WOULD THIS, IF WE HAVE HIGHER
FEES LIKE THIS, DOES IT PUSH MORE PEOPLE TO USE MORE ENERGY
FRIENDLY OPTIONS LIKE RAIL OR THE BUS OR BIKI OR THINGS LIKE
THAT?>>IT’S HARD TO SAY BECAUSE
THE CHANGE IN THE FEE IS GOING TO VARY SO MUCH BETWEEN EACH
INDIVIDUAL. EXACTLY WHAT THE OVERALL
SHIFT WOULD LOOK LIKE, I DO THINK IT LENDS BACK TO THE
POINT OF TYING OUR FUNDING SOURCE TO SOMETHING THAT WE
WANT TO DISINCENTIVIZE. WE WANT FOLKS TO TAKE THE BUS
AND WANT FOLKS TO TAKE THE RAIL AND WANT FOLKS TO WALK
AND BIKE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. IN ORDER TO REDUCE OR
ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT AND RELEASE THE CONGESTION
ISSUE. BY TYING OUR FUNDING STREAM TO
FOLKS DRIVING, THERE IS A CONFLICT THERE. I THINK THAT’S SORT OF A
BIGGER ISSUE.>>Yunji: JOHN WANTS TO KNOW,
WHY DOES THE STATE NOT INCREASE FUEL TAX BY 1 CENT
PER YEAR AND FIX THE ROADS? I THINK IT GOES BACK TO YOUR
POINT. TAXED ENOUGH.>>I THINK THAT, SO IN ALL
FAIRNESS, ADMINISTRATION IS COME FORWARD AND ASKED
LEGISLATURE FOR THE PAST 2 OR 3 YEARS NOW TO INCREASE THE
VEHICLE REGISTRATION FEE AS WELL AS THE VEHICLE WEIGHT
TAX.>>ALL OF THEM. ACROSS THE BOARD. I THINK THAT TO THE CREDIT OF
THE CHAIRS OF THE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEES,
THEY HEAR THEIR CONSTITUENTS WHO ARE SUFFERING, WHO ARE
WORKING TWO JOBS TO MAKE ENDS MEET. WHO ARE SAYING, I REMEMBER
2010, WE INCREASED THE VEHICLE REGISTRATION FEE FROM
25 TO $45. MAN, DID WE GET IT. WE HEARD PEOPLE YELLING AT US
LEFT AND RIGHT. AGAIN, IF YOU HAVE MULTIPLE
CARS IN YOUR FAMILY, THAT IS A MAJOR HIT FOUR. THE VEHICLE WEIGHT TAX IS
LITTLE BIT OF A DIFFERENT ANOMALY. IN MY OPINION, WITH THE
VEHICLE WEIGHT TAX, YOU’RE ACTUALLY PAYING FOR THE
WEIGHT OF YOUR VEHICLE. THEORETICALLY, MORE HEAVY
YOUR VEHICLE, YOU’RE DOING MORE DAMAGE TO THE ROAD. SO THAT’S ACTUALLY REALLY
FAIR TAX. WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT THE
REGISTRATION FEE, I MEAN, HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? THINK IT’S WONDERFUL SOME OF
THE CALLERS ARE SAYING RAISE OUR FEES. WE APPRECIATE THAT. SOME PEOPLE REALLY STRUGGLING
IN THE STATE OF HAWAIʻI AND FOR THEM, WE HAVE TO LOOK OUT
FOR THEM AS WELL. THEY DON’T FEEL THAT THEY
WOULD BE ABLE TO BURDEN THAT ADDITIONAL COST.>>Yunji: YOU LOOKED AT
SYSTEMS ALL AROUND THE WORLD. WHAT IS PERCEIVED AS THE MOST
FAIR WAY TO DO THIS?>>SO COMBINATION THAT’S USED
IN EVERY PLACE IS A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT. ALWAYS UP TO THE ELECT
OFFICIALS TO FIND JUST THE RIGHT MIX FOR THE RIGHT PLACE. FOR THIS STUDY, BASICALLY, WE
WANT TO LOOK AT A WAY TO PRESERVE USAGE ELEMENT IF THE
GAS TAX WERE TO GO AWAY IN THE LONG RUN. SO BASICALLY, I THINK LOOKING
AT DIFFERENT SOURCES, AND LOOKING AT IT IN A WAY THAT’S
FAIR FOR EACH OF THE DIFFERENT LOCALITIES.>>Yunji: THIS SAYS, ARE TOLLS
ANOTHER OPTION FOR HAWAIʻI STATE ROADS?>>TOLLS ARE A WHOLE — TIM,
YOU LOOKED AT THIS. NOT WORK?>>ESPECIALLY IF YOU ALREADY
GET FEDERAL MONEY TO BUILD A ROAD. LIKE SO FAR, FREEWAYS WE DO
GET FEDERAL FUNDING. AND TO HELP WITH THOSE ROAD. ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY’RE
BUILT. SO THERE ARE RULES IN PLACE. YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO CHARGE
A TOLL IF YOU USE FEDERAL MONEY TO BUILD OR MAINTAIN
THAT ROAD AS WELL. THAT WAS IN AND OF ITSELF
WOULD BE A CHALLENGE. NOT TO MENTION THE PUBLIC
OUTCRY ON THAT AS WELL. THAT PEOPLE WOULDN’T GO FOR A
TOLL ROAD.>>PEOPLE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND
TOO, WHOLE POINT OF A TOLL IS ESSENTIALLY A PUBLIC/PRIVATE
PARTNERSHIP. SO YOU WOULD HAVE A PRIVATE
ENTITY ESSENTIALLY TOLLING, THEY WOULD BE DOING FIXES. THEY WOULD BE PAYING FOR THE
REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE. AND THEN ESSENTIALLY, PAYING
DRIVERS WOULD PAY THE TOLL. THAT PAY DOWN THE DEBT SERVICE
ON REPAIR AN MAINTENANCE. DIFFERENT MODEL BECAUSE YOU
HAVE PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP VERSUS JUST
GOVERNMENT, FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, GIVING MONEY TO
THE STAY OF HAWAIʻI. SO IT’S A LITTLE BIT OF A
DIFFERENCE.>>Yunji: WE HAVE A FEW MINUTES
LEFT. WHEN YOU GET THAT LETTER,
DON’T THROW IT OUT. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY FOR
PEOPLE TO HAVE THEIR VOICE HEARD ON THIS ISSUE?>>WE’RE HOPING TO GET A LOT
OF RESPONSES. BEST WAY IS TO RESPOND TO THE
SURVEY. THERE IS GOING TO BE, URL,
LINK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SURVEY. OR AT THE DRIVING REPORT. GO THROUGH THAT. PLEASE TAKE THE SURVEY. GO TO THE WEBSITE. LEARN MORE ABOUT ROAD USAGE
CHARGE. THAT’S THE WAY WE’RE HOPING TO
PROCESS AS MUCH FEEDBACK AS POSSIBLE. THROUGH THE ENTIRE PROJECT,
LOOKING FOR PEOPLE TO VOLUNTEER. WE HAVE EMAIL ADDRESS. WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM
PEOPLE. LOGGING ALL OF THE COMMENTS
THAT WE’RE GETTING AND THAT WILL ALL FEED INTO THE FINAL
RECOMMENDATIONS AND REPORT. IF IT’S NOT THERE, WHAT IS A
BETTER WAY THAT EMCOURAGES ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDS
YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT AND ALSO MAINTAINS OUR ROAD?>>I THINK THAT ALSO TAKES
MORE RESEARCH. THERE’S NO, IT’S VERY CLEAR
THIS IS VERY COMPLICATED. BUT I DO THINK THERE’S A WAY,
IF THIS IS THE ROUTE THAT WE WANT TO TAKE, THERE’S A WAY TO
THEN REINTEGRATE INCENTIVE FOR FUEL EFFICIENCY, AND
OFFSET THE BURDEN FOR LOW INCOME FOLKS IN HAWAIʻI. WHETHER THAT’S REBATE AT THE
END OF THE YEAR, OR IF THAT’S JUST SORT OF LEAVING CERTAIN
PEOPLE OUT OF THAT OR DECREASING THOSE FEES FOR
CERTAIN PEOPLE. I THINK THAT THE WAY IT IS,
SIMPLIFIED VERSION, SIMPLE IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST WAY THAT
WE SHOULD CONSIDER HOW TO BEST TWEAK IT AND MAKE IT
EFFECTIVE, BUT ALSO NOT HARM OR CLEAN ENERGY GOALS AND AT
THE SAME TIME, REPRESENTATIVE IS CONCERNED, NOT HARM OR
LOWER INCOME RESIDENTS.>>Yunji: WHAT DO YOU SAY TO
THEM TONIGHT?>>AGAIN, I FIRST OF ALL, I
WANT TO THANK D.O.T. THEY HAVE DONE A GREAT JOB. THEY HAVE GONE OUT TO THE
COMMUNITY, LISTENED TO THE PEOPLE, BLESS HER HEART,
KAPOLEI, FIRST ONE, POLICE HAD TO BE CALLED OUT. VERY GOOD JOB OF CALMING THE
VERY EXCITED CROWD. WITH THAT SAID, DONE A VERY
GOOD JOB GOING OUT. THEY REALLY DO, DEPARTMENT OF
TRANSPORTATION WANTS TO MAKE THE EFFORT. THEY WANT TO HEAR FROM PEOPLE. I THINK THAT GOVERNMENT IS
ONLY AS GOOD AS THE PEOPLE PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCESS. AND SO THIS IS A CONTROVERSIAL
ISSUE. BECAUSE ENACTED, IT WILL
IMPACT EVERY PERSON WHO DRIVES IN THE STATE OF
HAWAIʻI. SO WE NEED PEOPLE TO GET
INVOLVED. WE WANT PEOPLE TO GIVE US
THEIR FEEDBACK. END OF 3 YEAR PILOT PROJECT,
NO SUPPORT FOR IT, THEN WHY WOULD THE DEPARTMENT OF
TRANSPORTATION COME TO THE LEGISLATURE AND SAY, THIS IS
THE ROUTE WE’RE GOING TO GO. MAKE A PROPOSAL. REALLY THIS, IS ABOUT PEOPLE
GETTING INVOLVED. AGAIN, I WANT TO THANK THE
HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WHO SHOWED UP TO ALL THE COMMUNITY
EVENTS. WHO VOICED THEIR OPINIONS. TOOK TIME OUT OF THEIR EVENING
TO TALK ABOUT WHY THEY FELT THIS WAS NOT, EVEN IF THEY
SUPPORTED IT, WE NEED TO HEAR FEEDBACK FROM THE PEOPLE FROM
THE STATE OF HAWAIʻI ON THIS VERY CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE.>>Yunji: LITTLE BIT OF TIME.>>I THINK IT’S ALSO IMPORTANT
TO NOTE THAT SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT THE ROAD USAGE CHARGE, IF
IT WERE TO BE IMPLEMENTED, WOULD BE IN ADDITION TO. BUT IT’S NOT. IT WOULD BE A REPLACEMENT OF
THE FUEL TAX. IF IT WAS IMPLEMENTED, THE GAS
PRICES WOULD GO DOWN IMMEDIATELY. SIXTEEN CENTS FOR THE STATE
FUEL PORTION. AND THEN IF THE COUNTIES
ADOPTED IT AS WELL, THAT WOULD BE DECREASED AS WELL. ABOUT THANK YOU IS NOT BOTH. IT WOULDN’T BE CHARGING
PEOPLE BOTH. IT’S ONE OR THE OTHER. I THINK THAT’S ANOTHER
IMPORTANT DISTINCTION TO MAKE FOR PEOPLE SO THEY
UNDERSTAND. I’M SORRY. EVEN IN OREGON RIGHT NOW, WHAT
THEY’RE DOING IS WHEN THEY FIRST ENACTED IT, 1.5 CENTS
PER MILE. ALREADY INCREASED IT 1.7
CENTS. THAT’S 1.9 % IN 2022. THAT FEE WILL CONTINUE GO UP. ANOTHER THING YOU HAVE TO
ADDRESS LONGTERM.>>SO WILL THE FUEL TAX.>>BUT THE FUEL TAX HASN’T
GONE UP. SINCE 1991.>>EXACTLY. WHY IT NEEDS TO GO UP. MAHALO TO YOU FOR JOINING US
TONIGHT – AND WE THANK OUR GUESTS –
TIM SAKAHARA, SPOKESMAN FOR THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF
TRANSPORTATION. REPRESENTATIVE SHARON HAR,
REPRESENTING HOUSE DISTRICT 42, KAPOLEI AND MAKAKILO. GING GING FERNANDEZ, WITH
D’ARTAGNAN CONSULTING. AND LAUREN REICHELT, CLEAN
TRANSPORTATION DIRECTOR FOR THE BLUE PLANET FOUNDATION. NEXT WEEK ON INSIGHTS, THE
CITY OF HONOLULU WANTS TO INSTALL SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS
IN 13 PUBLIC PARKS ON O’AHU. IS THIS A GOOD IDEA? JOIN US
THEN. I’M YUNJI DE NIES FOR INSIGHTS
ON PBS HAWAIʻI – A HUI HOU!