A toll road bill quietly moving through legislature:

Somehow we missed the toll roads bill now winding its way through the Legislature but better later than never. It is HB 2153 HD1 introduced by Reps. Souki, Ichiyama, and Yamashita.

This bill would allow the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation to build toll roads, (aka HOT lanes or Managed Lanes) and may contract with private companies to build and manage them.

The salient paragraphs in the bill are:

“It has been contended that the operation of toll roads has contributed to controlling the amount of motor vehicle traffic, thus reducing traffic congestion in various venues worldwide. It has also been contended that toll roads offer a dedicated source of revenue for the maintenance of heavily used highways and roads, thus freeing up public revenues for other uses. Other jurisdictions, both domestic and foreign, have implemented toll roads with success.”

“The legislature further finds that, under section 46 1.5(19)(D), Hawaii Revised Statutes, the counties are authorized and have the power to open, close, construct, or maintain county highways or charge toll on county highways; provided that all revenues received from a toll charge are used for the construction or maintenance of county highways. The purpose of this Act is to statutorily confer similar authorization to the department of transportation.”

“§264 A Toll roads; agreement with private entities. (a) The department of transportation may request competing proposals from private entities by advertising and may enter into written agreements with private entities relating to both of the following: (1) The construction of toll roads by private entities; and (2) The lease of toll roads constructed pursuant to this section by the department to private entities.”

We will follow this bill closely since it was introduced by Rep. Joe Souki, Chair of the House Transportation Committee and his Vice-Chair, Rep. Linda Ichiyama.

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