The House Ways & Means Committee has voted unanimously to both introduce and send to the full House a $68.5 million transportation funding bill. The measure increases car registration fees by $23.5 million, fees for light trucks and trailers by $6.7 million, heavy truck fees by $11.3 million, and adds 3 cents to the fuel tax to raise another $27 million. “This is the first step,” said House GOP Caucus Chairman Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly. “We don’t know if this bill can even be successful on the House floor.” Roberts noted that Idaho hasn’t raised its fuel tax since 1996. “It’s been 12 years,” he said. “It’s probably time to make a change, but it’s also a difficult time to make a change because of the price of gas.” The measure, presented by the Idaho Transportation Department, is “kind of the culmination of a lot of discussions” that have been going on all session and still were in the works as late as 9 last night, Roberts said. Gov. Butch Otter had called for $200 million a year more in transportation funding to address a huge road maintenance backlog.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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