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Batt: ‘It will require a massive change’

Former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt is calling on Idahoans to step forward to upgrade the state’s ailing transportation system. “It’s frustrating when it takes 40 minutes to drive to work from 8 miles away. We need more arterials and more freeway lanes,” Batt wrote in an op-ed piece that he’s now distributed to newspapers across the state. “And it’s hard on the car when the roads are filled with pits and potholes. We’re overdue for a new roadbed in a lot of places throughout the state. And it sure would be nice if we had a super highway to North Idaho and a road up to Midvale that bypassed that winding canyon along the Payette River. But don’t hold your breath while waiting for these improvements to take place. The reality is that it will require a massive change in funding our highway program to make any substantial progress on Idaho’s roads.”

Today, Gov. Butch Otter forwarded Batt’s op-ed piece, which already has run in the Idaho Statesman, statewide. Otter did so “at the request of its author, Governor Phil Batt, in order to provide important historical perspective and help Idahoans better understand the issues involved in Idaho’s transportation funding challenge,” Otter’s office said.

Writes Batt: “I know it’s a poor time to talk about increasing the cost of operating a motor vehicle. But we have always had more needs than money regarding our transportation system within our beloved state. The picture has never been more bleak than today. But financial sacrifices for transportation have been required since territorial days and each generation has responded with increased funding. It doesn’t make sense that we now say ‘we won’t face the music – make our kids and grandkids pay.’” Click below to read Batt’s full article.

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.