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Eye On Boise

THURSDAY, MAY 7, 2009, 11:04 A.M.

House trips up on second task force measure

"This is one of the issues we've been wrestling with since Day 1 of this session, transportation funding," Rep. Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, told the House. "I think we all realize that, at some point in time, we're going to have to look at long-term funding for transportation in Idaho. We've answered the question for this session about gas tax ... we've looked at rental car taxes, we've looked at a number of issues. ... I think that this body understands and we recognize that if we don't take care of and maintain the roads in the state of Idaho, we'll have a looming problem ahead of us."

Roberts is the sponsor of HCR 33, the measure to create a new governor's task force to look into modernizing transportation funding in Idaho. The 15-member task force will include 10 legislators, and would make recommendations to next year's Legislature. Roberts told the House, "I believe it is a step forward," and will help answer questions about "how much money is needed and why it's needed. I think those are some of the questions we continue to have." Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, objected that the wording in the resolution mentions the earlier transportation audit and that it showed the $240 million shortfall estimate falls short. The resolution says, "WHEREAS, a recent legislative audit determined that a proposed revenue enhancement of $240 million a year is merited and may even be understated." Said Labrador, "I just want assurances that if I vote for this resolution, I am not ... agreeing to the $240 million number." He said he wants to make sure the task force looks at funding shifts or "other ways to be efficient and not add an additional burden to our taxpayers."

Roberts then said, "After consideration here ... the good gentleman raises an issue." He asked unanimous consent to return the measure to the Ways & Means Committee for a a re-do; no one objected.

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Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.