Eye On Boise

Options on GARVEE bonds…

Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, developed a compromise proposal on GARVEE bonding for big highway projects, midway between Rep. Frank Henderson's $50 million proposal and Sen. Shawn Keough's $125 million plan, which matches the governor's original proposal. Hammond set his figure at $82 million. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, developed a compromise proposal on GARVEE bonding for big highway projects, midway between Rep. Frank Henderson's $50 million proposal and Sen. Shawn Keough's $125 million plan, which matches the governor's original proposal. Hammond set his figure at $82 million. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

There are at least three ways JFAC could go this morning, as it considers GARVEE bonds, the special type of bonding that allows the state to borrow against its future federal highway allocations to fund big projects up-front, and that's funding several big projects across the state now. Three North Idaho lawmakers who want the program to continue are backing varying proposals.

Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, said, "I think it'd be nuts to drop the program in the middle - let's finish these projects." He said his $82 million bonding proposal is "a bit pragmatic," because he figured it'd be "impossible" to get lawmakers to sign on to the full $125 million bonding plan.  Hammond told Eye on Boise his proposal would allow important right-of-way purchases to move forward on pending projects. "Let's keep the program moving - this is actually a better year than ever, because costs are lower," he said.

Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, said he developed a $50 million bonding proposal because "it covers everything." The way he figures it, ITD has just saved $36 million because bids are coming in lower than expected for bond-funded projects. "The governor said he would settle for $85 million," Henderson said, adding that the governor made that commitment "sometime yesterday morning." The governor himself decided to move the Vista Interchange project out of next year's bonding program and into the federal stimulus program, Henderson said, making it one of eight high-priority projects across the state for which he wants to spend stimulus funds. That leaves enough in the bonding program to cover the remaining projects, he said. "It'll work," said Henderson.

Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, developed a budget proposal calling for the full $125 million bonding plan. "The $125 million was the recommendation from ITD board and from the governor, and I think there are arguments for moving forward in that manner," she said.




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