Highway user fee passes budget commmittee vote

Bill 22 would get rid of gas tax; institute an annual fee which includes mopeds

Published  8:00 PM HST Apr 24, 2013
Gas pump
HONOLULU -

Every time you fill up, you pay up -- to the tune of 16.5 cents per gallon.

Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson says it's time to end the city's fuel tax.

"I do see the county highway user fee generating more money than the county share of the fuel tax generating," said Anderson.

Anderson says that would benefit drivers who put many miles on the road.  Not so much for grandma or grandpa who drive sparingly.

"Do those who drive more pay less and those who drive just a few miles everyday pay the same flat rate?" asked Budget Committee Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi.  "So we want to do what's fair."

Support for Anderson's proposal appears to be growing, at least for now.

On Wednesday, the Budget Committee moved Bill 22 forward with a 6-0 vote.  A public hearing comes next.

"Some of my colleagues have reservations, but at this point it does in fact seem that we have support on the council to advance this forward and hopefully enact it into law," said Anderson.

"We'll see what happens after the second reading and what discussion we have on this," said Kobayashi.

Anderson has yet to attach the fee amounts that vehicle owners would pay, but moped riders may not be too happy with his proposal.  Under the bill, moped owners would pay a highway user fee every year.

"They do utilize our roadways, but it's my understanding right now that motor scooters and mopeds are treated like bicycles where they pay a one-time licensing fee and that's it," said Anderson.

If his county highway user fee is successful, Anderson also wants to create a special fund for the collected revenue.

"And these monies will solely be used for the repair and maintenance of our county roads," said Anderson.

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