Eye On Boise

Three transportation bills clear Senate committee

Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, presides over a late meeting of the Senate Transportation Committee that ran until 7 p.m. on Thursday. At right is committee vice chairman Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, presides over a late meeting of the Senate Transportation Committee that ran until 7 p.m. on Thursday. At right is committee vice chairman Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

The Senate Transportation Committee has approved HB 32, for a task force to identify alternative funding sources for the Idaho State Police and the Parks & Rec Department; HCR 34, to approve a gubernatorial task force to look into overall transportation funding in Idaho; and HB 376, to shift ISP and Parks & Rec funding off the gas tax in a year. The panel's two Democrats, Sens. Diane Bilyeu, D-Pocatello, and Elliot Werk, D-Boise, voted against HB 376; the other two votes were unanimous.

Werk told Rep. Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, who was presenting 376, "I would commend the good representative for his creativity. ... It seems to me reorganizing deck chairs on the Titanic. ... I am very concerned with the transfers we're doing." Werk said the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee has looked without success for an alternative funding source to allow ISP to be moved off the highway fund. Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, said he hoped the gubernatorial task force would include transit when it looks at Idaho's future transportation needs. "I think we need to look at that and plan," he said. "I think it's an important part of the future in Idaho, even if it's in small scale."




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Betsy Z. Russell




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