My Reasons for Supporting the Gas Tax Bill (SB 2938)

Mahalo to all of you for sharing your views regarding SB 2938, the gas tax bill. These are my reasons for supporting the bill.  

First, DOT is making extensive improvements to Waianae Coast’s traffic, and needs these funds to sustain their efforts. Thanks to your voices, DOT is working on contraflow, turn lanes, hwy widening, median barriers, traffic light adjustments, and many other areas of critical need. (See contraflow & traffic improvement update below).

The second being that the federal government wants to increase federal funding for hwys to Hawaii by 2-5% over the next 2-3 yrs. To access these funds HI must provide a match. This need for a match is one of the main impetuses for the bill.  

Third, Environmental groups like the HI Energy Policy Forum and Blue Planet Foundation support this bill. They point out that HI’s gas taxes haven’t been raised for 25 yrs, and that funds are needed for critical infrastructure improvements.

I urge you to read the various testimonies in support of this bill, and DOT’s “Frequently Asked Questions About SB 2938” to further understand it. Here are links to the testimony (with DOT’s testimony starting on pg. 4) and the FAQ piece:

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/Session2016/Testimony/SB2938_SD1_TESTIMONY_WAM_02-29-16.PDF

https://21maile.com/2016/03/16/frequently-asked-questions-for-sb2938-involving-transportation-funding-user-fee-adjustments/

As stated above, DOT is working very hard to improve our traffic on the Waianae Coast, and will be coming out to the community at least 3 times in the coming months. These would be great opportunities to ask DOT questions about SB 2938. Here are the latest updates:

Contraflow Lane Update from DOT; Additional Waianae Coast Presentations on 03/17, 04/05, and 04/11

Mahalo nui loa to DOT’s Highways Division Deputy Director, Edwin Sniffen, and his team for providing an excellent presentation regarding the upcoming Nanakuli contraflow project at the 03/15 Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board (NMNB) meeting. Here is a link to the contraflow handouts from DOT, which are posted on my blog: https://21maile.com/2016/03/16/contraflow-information-from-dot/

DOT will be presenting regarding the contraflow project & other traffic improvements on the following additional dates/times: 

– 03/17/16, 6-7pm, at Maili Community Park, 87-360 Kulaaupuni Street; hosted by the Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board Transportation Committee

– 04/05/16, 7pm, at Waianae District Park Multi-Purpose Room; hosted by the Waianae Neighborhood Board

– 04/11/16, 7pm, at Ka Waihona o ka Na`auao school cafeteria; hosted by the Ahupua`a o Nanakuli Homestead

If you would like a digital copy of DOT’s contraflow handout sent to you, please message me with your email asking for it and I will have it sent.

DOT made the following comments regarding the contraflow project during their 03/15 presentation: 

– hours are anticipated to be from 3:30-7pm, and start date is anticipated for this summer in time for the back to school jam;

– contraflow will run from Piliokahi Ave. to Helelua St.;

– pedestrian safety will be enhanced by HPD and the City, with flashing signage and other safety measures;

– the contraflow project is temporary since it is linked with the current turn lanes project, which is scheduled to end in April 2017. However, contraflowing may continue toward the Hakimo Road direction if DOT’s proposal to continue widening the highway comes to fruition; 

– the cost of contraflow project is $300,000 per year, with 80% of the funds being provided by the federal government (Note: This funding is separate from the current turn lanes project, which is fully funded);

– left turns will be restricted; eastbound drivers needing to turn left will be directed to the “Bridge to Nowhere,” where they may drive up to Nanakuli Ave., then to Mano Ave., and to Haleakala Ave., where they can come back out onto Farrington Hwy. if needed;

– the “Bridge to Nowhere” at Nanakuli Beach Park was originally restricted to emergencies only; DOT asked the NMNB to pass a resolution supporting the use of the bridge during contraflow hours; (Note: NMNB members Patty Kahanamoku Teruya and Richard B. Landford Jr. moved to pass this resolution, which was supported by a unanimous vote; HPD Major Kurt Kendro testified in support).

DOT Made Some Additional Announcements Regarding Traffic Improvement Measures That They Are Working On: 

– the turn lanes being built at Nanakuli Ave. and Haleakala Ave. are anticipated to include cables to allow remote control of the traffic lights at these intersections; 

– Kualaka’i Parkway shoulder near the Kroc Center is anticipated to open to Kunia during rush hour

– Zipper lane is anticipated to be extended to 9am in the eastbound direction, and an additional zipper lane may be added.

For additional information, feel free to contact me or:

State of Hawaii Department of Transportation

Public Affairs Office

869 Punchbowl Street, Room 507

Honolulu HI 96813-5097

Telephone: (808) 587-2160

Fax: (808) 587-2313

Timothy.J.Sakahara@hawaii.gov

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