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Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Hawaii freeway conditions and costs are ‘disgraceful’
By Malia Zimmerman @ 5:06 PM :: 6024 Views :: Hawaii State Government, Hawaii Statistics, Rail

Hawaii freeway conditions and costs are ‘disgraceful’

Traffic on Honolulu's H-1 Freeway Traffic on Honolulu’s H-1 Freeway

by Malia Zimmerman, July 2, 2013

HONOLULU –  Hawaii’s ranking among best American highway systems — we’re No. 48 — was a surprise to Cliff Slater, a transportation expert who runs

“How did Hawaii rank so high?” Slater joked.

The Reason Foundation study, released today, also ranks Hawaii as No. 50 (for the poor condition of its urban interstate pavement) and bridges (No. 49).

Transportation Expert Cliff Slater Transportation Expert Cliff Slater

The truly “big news,” Slater said: Hawaii’s ranking at No. 49 for administrative costs per mile.

“We are eight times the average state and 40 times the cost of the average of the best five states,” Slater said. “That is disgraceful.”

Slater noted Hawaii’s roads cost twice as much as Utah and Arizona’s to maintain.

“We cannot justify that in any way,” Slater said. “The bureaucracy in the Hawaii state Department of Transportation is hopeless. Nothing gets done. It is a welfare department.”

But Hawaii faces some unique costs. The state must transport its heavy machinery and asphalt to six islands — Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kauai — by ship, increasing the expense of road construction and maintenance, said Panos Prevedouros, a professor of engineering at the University of Hawaii.

But Prevedouros, who consults worldwide on both government and private transportation projects, said part of the cost difference stems from Hawaii’s mismanagement.

Panos Prevedouros PhD, professor of engineering at the University of Hawaii Panos Prevedouros PhD, professor of engineering at the University of Hawaii

Panos Prevedouros: It’s all about better procedures — and the cost of inter-island shipping.

For more than eight years, oil refiner Tesoro Hawaii stopped producing asphalt here because the state and county could not give the company a solid projection on the amount of asphalt needed each year, Prevedouros said. The state now imports its asphalt from California at considerable cost.

In other categories, the state scored somewhat better. The Reason Foundation’s 20th Annual Highway Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems put Hawaii at No. 28 in urban interstate congestion and No. 20 in fatality rates.

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 9.10.35 AM

A widening gap is emerging between most states that are making progress and a few states that are finding it difficult to improve, the authors note. North Dakota, Kansas, Wyoming, New Mexico and Montana are in the lead for cost-effectiveness ratings, while Alaska, Rhode Island, Hawaii, California and New Jersey came in at the bottom.


See the full study at:


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