The House Ways & Means Committee has met again, and approved a new version of the resolution to create a “gubernatorial task force to consider both traditional and nontraditional sources of revenue for the maintenance and preservation of highways and bridges.” Democrats on the panel proposed a change, to specifically add in that the panel would look into “local option authority,” but majority Republicans opposed the change. “This resolution has had a lot of input from the governor’s staff and the Senate - I think we would be jeopardizing it,” said Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, if the committee started “wordsmithing” it. Responded Rep. James Ruchti, D-Pocatello, “I’d just point out that we just took some wording out of this ‘carefully wordsmithed document.’ ” Amid laughter, Moyle said, “That’s why we don’t want to mess with that.”
The new version leaves out any mention of a $240 million shortfall for road maintenance, saying only, “A recent legislative audit found that current funding for transportation cannot keep pace with the growth in costs to meet Idaho’s basic transportation needs of preserving and restoring Idaho’s highways and bridges.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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