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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Legislature shifts focus back to transportation needs

The Idaho Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously Thursday to pass an appropriation of $550,000 to conduct an audit of the Idaho Transportation Department. It now goes to the full Senate for a approval. You can read some of the details of that vote here. While the full Senate deals with that issue, the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee is waiting for proposed "revenue enhancement" bills to be sent over from the House of Representatives.

“The Senate’s done its part. That’s what they asked us to do – we just did it," Senate Transportation Chairman John McGee, R-Caldwell, said after the vote. "We’re anxiously awaiting revenue enhancement bills from the House.”

They may not have to wait much longer because the House Ways and Means Committee unanimously allowed the Democratic caucus to introduce its package of transportation revenue proposals, which will raise revenues by $97 million annually. While no one is quite sure how these proposals will fare, it looks as though they will be thoroughly debated.

“We put ‘em out there for conversation, and people seemed genuinely interested in talking about them,” House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, told Spokesman Review Reporter, Betsy Russell, from Eye on Boise.

What do you think about the revenue proposals submitted by the Idaho Democrats?


overtheroadguy said...

I don't have a problem with an increse in registration fees for cars and trucks but with the high price of fuel, both gas and diesel, I don't think this is a good time for a fuel price increase. Traditionally, ITD has split any gas tax increase with the cities, counties and highway districts on a 50/50 basis. By using a surcharge or sales tax increase ITD feels they don't need to honor the 50/50 split. When the Forum on Transportation Investment Committee came up with the $200 million backlog of highway needs that $200 million included the local units of governments needs also. Without the 50/50 split they are being left out.

KMPO Staff said...

Thanks for commenting Overtheroadguy. I've heard the same from several other people who are okay with paying more once a year to register their vehicle, but complain they have to take out a loan once a week when they fill up with gas.