Eye On Boise

Otter goes to bat for his transportation plan

Gov. Butch Otter, his right arm in a sling, returns to the legislative battlefield after shoulder surgery, urging lawmakers to approve his transportation proposal. The plan includes increases in the gas tax and car and truck registration fees. 2/10/09 (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Gov. Butch Otter, his right arm in a sling, returns to the legislative battlefield after shoulder surgery, urging lawmakers to approve his transportation proposal. The plan includes increases in the gas tax and car and truck registration fees. 2/10/09 (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Gov. Butch Otter, arm bound in a sling after shoulder surgery but vigorously greeting supporters, shaking hands (with his left hand) and touting his top priority - fixing Idaho roads - spoke out on the steps of the Capitol Annex today, urging lawmakers to pass his transportation plan. "This isn't an easy task, but I feel it's a necessary one," Otter declared. "I certainly put this in the top of the category on necessary." Otter was backed by a group of about 50 supporters, including GOP lawmakers, mayors, business people, lobbyists and more. Senate Transportation Chairman John McGee, about whom Otter said there is "no greater champion" for fixing Idaho roads, told the crowd, "We all know this is not easy, for us to think about raising new revenue ... but it is essential. We face catastrophic results if we don't fix Idaho's roads and we don't fix them now." He said the governor's plan would create "hundreds, possibly thousands of jobs."

Otter said, "I can't ever remember when I ever took the lead in raising taxes on anything for any purpose." But he said this time, he's convinced it's needed. "I'm confident that we've made the right arguments in favor of this." He said he's willing to work with lawmakers, and welcomes their ideas. "There's a great possibility during this process that we .. end up coming up with something better," he said.




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