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Unanimous vote for road bill

The House Transportation Committee just voted unanimously to send the full House the governor’s highway bill, with compromise amendments attached. “I know the angst and I know the tension that was in the negotiations,” said Rep. Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, who had been one of the biggest opponents – but made the motion just now to move the bill on. He complimented the governor’s staffers for their work to compromise on the issue.

Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, said, “I think this is a pretty exciting concept that we’re adopting today.” The governor’s plan calls for bonding against future federal highway allocations to do $1.6 billion worth of major road construction across the state – including major upgrades to U.S. Highway 95.

The crowd spilled out of the packed hearing room for the Transportation Committee meeting, and after the vote, people traded handshakes and muttered, “All that for a unanimous vote!”

Senate President Pro Tem Bob Geddes slapped House Speaker Bruce Newcomb on the back and said, “Boy, Speaker, you know how to broker a deal.” “I tell you what, I’m ready to go – how ‘bout you?” Newcomb responded. “I agree, it’s time,” Geddes said.

The two leaders said the legislative session – now the fourth-longest in state history – likely will end on Thursday.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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