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Local News

Measure would set weight limits, user fees for tourism-related vehicles on 2 Maui highways

Infrastructure road to hana maui bridge
MARCO GARCIA/AP
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FR132415 AP
In this Sept. 24, 2014 photo, a car crosses a stone bridge on the Hana Highway in Hana, Hawaiʻi. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

A proposal to set weight limitations on two Maui highways is moving forward at the state Legislature.

House Bill 1632 would set these limitations – as well as user fees – for certain vehicles and tour operators on Hana and Haleakala highways. The measure aims to create a sustainable funding source to maintain and improve popular thoroughfares on Maui.

Tour operators and rental vehicles would have to pay "$50 per load or $30 per vehicle," according to the proposed measure.

The House transportation committee heard testimony on the proposal Wednesday morning. While most testifiers supported the measure, there was concern from the state Department of Transportation.

DOT Deputy Director Ed Sniffen says the department is waiting to hear feedback from the federal highway administration.

"We’re not in opposition. We’re trying to make sure that the bill works with the Federal Highways requirements. So we’ve been working with federal highways to see if tolling is actually allowed on the system," Sniffen said. "We’re working through four issues that allow a technical nexus to potentially allow tolling. And now we’re trying to look at the impacts of tolling on the system."

"So if it’s allowed, if we can tie tolling to a project – like a bridge replacement or the like – does it now invalidate all Federal Highways monies going into that system from now on? Or to that bridge itself? Does it restrict the funding that comes to the funding that comes to that tolling to specifically that facility and the like?" Sniffen said.

Some members of the Maui County Council submitted invididual testimony in support of the measure, including Council Chair Alice Lee.

HB 1632 passed the House transportation committee with amendments. It has also been referred to the committees on Consumer Protection and Commerce, and Finance.

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