Eye On Boise

Guv: No deal yet on transportation

Gov. Butch Otter talks with reporters after a proclamation-signing on Tuesday morning. The governor said the 2-cent gas tax increase bill that the House is poised to amend currently doesn't go far enough to address the need for additional road work. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Gov. Butch Otter talks with reporters after a proclamation-signing on Tuesday morning. The governor said the 2-cent gas tax increase bill that the House is poised to amend currently doesn't go far enough to address the need for additional road work. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

As the House prepares to consider amendments to HB 135, Rep. JoAn Wood's bill to raise the gas tax just 2 cents next year, Gov. Butch Otter said he's not reached any deal with House leadership on transportation. "I am aware that they're trying very hard to come up with a solution to the transportation needs and our transportation problems," he said. "It's my hope that we'd be looking further down the road than 2 cents will get us. If it costs a dime to get out of sight, why, 2 cents wouldn't get us at the end of my vision. So I think it's important that they continue their efforts, and I'm pleased that they are continuing the efforts."

The governor said, "In an effort to get the ball moving, we put together a package; $174 million was our first effort, and then that failed. I can understand the pros and cons on both sides of this, because of the nature of the economic climate that we've got." But he said the 7-cent gas tax increase he proposed - and that the House killed two weeks ago - would head off greater costs later. "Whose kids are gonna have to pay for that?" he asked. "The 7 cents that I was asking for this year, for the next generation could very easily turn into 70 cents per gallon. ... Deferred maintenance is really on the backs of our children and our grandchildren."




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