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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Governor's proposed transportation funding takes first hit in budget cuts

It appears that the legislature cannot find the money this session to backfill a portion of the Idaho State Patrol's budget which is currently funded by state gas tax revenues. Governor Butch Otter had proposed this move as part of a much larger transportation funding package. Otter's transportation revenue proposal was designed to cover a $200 million per year deficit in state transportation needs. Along with the ISP budget shift, the state is looking at a gas tax increase, higher vehicle registration fees, and cuts in adminstrative costs at the Idaho Transportation Department.

According to a story in today's Spokesman Review, Senate Transportation Chairman John McGee, R-Caldwell, said, "I'm hopeful we can make that shift … when our economic numbers look better."

The ISP funding shift is the only piece of the governor's plan to increase transportation funding that's emerged so far in this year's legislative session, the Spokesman reported. But McGee said a full package of proposed tax and fee hikes, from car registration fee increases to local-option taxes, is likely to be introduced within a week to target transportation needs.

More of this story Here

UPDATE: Otter responds to legislature's reluctance to shift ISP funding away from gas tax. Spokesman Review blogger Betsy Russell has it Here at Eye on Boise.

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