Representative Marilyn Lee (District 38 - Mililani, Mililani Mauka) has an op-ed in Sunday's Honolulu
Star-Bulletin questioning the public policy of establishing toll roads and of introducing privatization into our state transportation system. She states: "Some would argue that this
path is necessary because neither the state nor the counties have sufficient funds to build more highways. U.S. PIRG cautions that through such deals, the public loses control of transportation policy, and there is no guarantee that toll roads will deliver their promised value. The report cites such problems as an inability to prevent toll traffic from being diverted to local
communities and difficulty changing traffic patterns on toll roads without paying additional compensati
on to road operators. The U.S. PIRG report also notes the difficulty of ensuring fair contracts when they stretch over multiple generations and changing community needs."
Representative Rida Cabanilla-Arakawa (District 42 - Waipahu, West Loch, Ewa) has an op-ed in today's Honolulu Advertiser advocating for toll roads as a means to alleviate traffic congestion, especially on the
Leeward side of Oahu. She states: " With the toll concept, once the contractor has been paid off through toll collection, the road can then become a free road. It is no different from the "fly now, pay later" concept. The best part of this concept, why it is so successful and catching on like wildfire across the country and world, is that only the end user pays. The public roads will still be there for those who do not want to pay. Even they will still benefit from it, because the free road will be less congested. The savings on fuel and the amount of time spent behind the wheel are very attractive to consumers."
Are toll roads the answer? Rep. Cabanilla's bill, HB70, was introduced in 2007 and crossed over to the Senate. It awaits a hearing.