Lawmaker scrutinizes road repair costs

Potholes, cracks in the roads and uneven surfaces are problems the Department of Transportation is used to dealing with but in a recent study put out by the Reason Foundation, Hawaii ranked last in the nation in administrative costs per road mile.

So why are the numbers so high when we have so little to show for it?

Senator President Donna Mercado Kim said she couldn’t believe how high the number was.

“We contacted the reason foundation who put those numbers out and wanted to know how they arrived at putting us at that spot,” said Mercado Kim. “$90,000 is certainly an unreasonable number.”

That’s why she looked into the matter and found that some of the data being submitted by the Department of Transportation was different from what other states were submitting. Prompting the DOT to make some changes to the data.

“They went in and recalculated and amended the numbers,” said Mercado Kim.

After the changes were made the 2013 data still showed Hawaii with some of the highest administrative costs, moving Hawaii just a few places from the bottom of the list to number 46. The 2014 data was also reworked and showed a big change.

“Then went back in and amended further and now we’re down to number 31,” said Mercado Kim.

Which now puts us at $16,512 per state road mile. A significant difference from the original $90,000 per state road mile, but still higher than most.

So what’s the problem?

“The efficiencies I believe, we don’t have good efficiencies and there are many areas we can cut cost and make it more efficient and we’re not doing that,” said Mercado Kim.

The senator said after meetings with the DOT they say they will be looking into ways to reduce these high costs.

“Looking at the different types of materials that we’re using some of the types of concrete that have been used by other areas, hopefully it will bring our cost down,” said Mercado Kim.

However there are still some unanswered questions.

“What’s going on? Why is this happening? When are we going to get better materials? When are we bringing costs down? Until they have answers we have to continue to stay on top of them,” said Mercado Kim.


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