Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023 |
Share this story
Over $2.3 million in excess and unspent fuel taxes will be mulled this week by the County Council.
The Finance Committee is set to vote on appropriating $859,913 in excess fuel tax revenues collected over the past two years and reappropriating $1.519 million in lapsed fuel tax funds.
The panel will take up Bills 3 and 4 during its first meeting of the 2022-24 session at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Hilo Council Chambers with public attendance also available at Kona Council Chambers at the West Hawaii Civic Center and Pahoa Council Office. Oral public testimony can be given via Zoom. Written testimony, as well as registration to testify via Zoom, must be submitted by noon Tuesday.
Both measures were introduced by Puna Councilman and Finance Committee Chairman Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder upon request by the Department of Public Works.
According to the first measure, actual fuel tax revenues collected between 2022 and 2022 in Hawaii County exceeded the $5.8 million projected in February 2021 by $859,913.
That extra funding would be split in accordance with percentages established in 2021 with $252,043 going to roadway projects, $177,913 to bridge inspection and repairs and $429,956 to district road improvements.
Among the projects listed, in order of appearance, are the long-planned Alii Highway, Kalanianaole Avenue reconstruction, Kawili Street shoulder improvements, Kinoole Avenue improvements and rehabilitation, Kuakini Highway widening from Hualalai to Hawaii Belt Road, Manono Street improvements, Old Mamalahoa Highway rehabilitation, Oneo Lane, and Waianuenue Avenue improvements. Also listed are a variety of road and safety programs.
The bridge funds would go toward the Alii Drive culvert replacement in Kailua-Kona, Kaahakini Bridge rehabilitation in Hakalau, bridge repairs in the North Hilo, South Hilo, Hamakua, North Kona, and South Kohala districts, Pauahi Street Bridge repair, and Waimaauau Stream Bridge repair. Funds would also be allocated for the inspection and repair program as well as to bridge replacement projects.
Just over half the nearly $430,000 is earmarked for local roadway improvements, $218,976, would be allocated for use in the South Hilo and Puna districts with $130,706, or 30.4% going to road improvements in South Hilo alone.
The next largest chunk, $64,450, or 14.99% of the funds, would be sent to North Kona for road improvements. South Kohala is slated to receive $47,037, or 10.94%, for its roadways.
The remaining districts would receive less than 7% of the funds, with Ka‘u roads getting $29,538, Hamakua roads $28,463, North Hilo roads $15,865, South Kona roads $13,027 and North Kohala roads 2.93%.
Bill 4 reappropriates $1.519 million in lapsed fuel tax funds. The majority of that figure, $1.37 million, dates to fiscal years 2012-18, though just under $14,000 dates to 1996-98.
Under Bill 4, $1.28 million would be reappropriated for road projects including Mamalahoa Highway resurfacing from Kamalani Street to Kalamauka Road; Lanikaula Street rehabilitation; Palani Road/Alii Drive rehabilitation from Kuakini Highway to Lunapule Road; Manono Street rehabilitation; and Kilauea Avenue and Keawe Street rehabilitation.
Of the remaining funds, $16,000 would go toward bridge inspection and repairs and $214,385 would go to road improvements in the North Hilo district.
The County Council in 2017 raised the county fuel tax from 8.8 cents per gallon to 15 cents, with an additional 4-cent increase in 2018 and another 4-cent hike in July 1, 2019, bringing the total to 23 cents per gallon to help fund road maintenance and projects. The local tax is on top of 16 cents per gallon state tax and 18 cents a gallon federal tax.
The average price at the pump Monday for regular gas on Hawaii Island was $5.083 a gallon, according to the American Automobile Association. Prices in West Hawaii are typically higher than the AAA figure with a gallon of gas at $5.09 in Kailua-Kona and $5.52 in Waimea on Monday.
Hawaii County’s 2022-23 budget estimates the highway fund balance at $19.1 million.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *