- Associated Press - Thursday, March 6, 2014

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - About $2.3 million in gas taxes on the Big Island is sitting in a bank rather than being used to build roads.

West Hawaii Today reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/1dxwIjP ) that the money wasn’t appropriated after the taxes were collected between 2010 and 2012. The Hawaii County Council plans Friday to appropriate the money to several road projects through the end of June, the end of the fiscal calendar.

The state tax department says the Big Island’s share of the fuel taxes collected was $6.1 million.

Motorists on the island pay 8.8 cents per gallon of gas for the county’s share of the tax.

Public Works Director Warren Lee says most of the money, $1.7 million, was set aside for big projects that require time and environmental assessments.

“The money wasn’t spent, technically, but it was earmarked,” Lee said. “We don’t want to over-budget and then not get the money.”

Hawaii Mayor Billy Kenoi said the county did more than $275 million in projects over the past five years, with about $100 million spent on roads on the west side of the island.

“We have challenges” getting projects moving past design, permit and engineering phases, he said. “I know our guys are working hard and doing the best we can.”

Finance Director Nancy Crawford says the money will stay in an interest-bearing account until it is used.

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Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com