Funding shortfall, no new gas tax halts highway projects in Hawaii

Updated Aug 9, 2016
Hawaii’s scenic H-3 highway.Hawaii’s scenic H-3 highway.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation is halting work on 66 highway projects due to lack of funding, which the agency blames partially on the lack of a new gas tax coming from state legislators, according to a report by Hawaii News Now.

The Highways Division only has funds to work on six projects above needed maintenance work. Only one project will go forward on Oahu, four on Maui, one on Hawaii and none on Kauai.

Ed Sniffen, deputy director of the Highway Division, says while the projects are on hold, the department continues to perform some of the development state work.

“We’re still developing, we’re still moving forward on the projects should the time come that we have the funding and we’re moving forward with operational improvements now to make sure that we affect things as soon as possible,” he says in the report.

The state general assembly is accusing Gov. David Ige of withholding state funding as a means of pressuring them to pass a gas tax. The legislature did appropriate $37 million to the state’s highway fund instead of passing a gas tax, blaming the lack of such action on no public support.