Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, asked the House to not concur in the Senate amendments to his bill, HB 286, and the House unanimously agreed. Henderson said lawmakers long ago signed onto policies stating that they wouldn’t pick highway projects, they’d leave that role to the Idaho Transportation Board. “The goal of these policies and procedures was to limit, to the extent possible, the political tug of war as to where and when improvements were made,” Henderson told the House. “These are the guidelines we have followed during my five years in the House. … I believe these policies have served us well.”
Henderson said he fully recognized that his move could prevent enactment of his original bill, which sought to eliminate a 2-mile gap of two-lane road at the south end of the Garwood-to-Sagle freeway project in North Idaho. “I feel that sustaining highway funding and procedures we have followed for years is much more important than the technical corrections 286 would have provided,” he told the House.
Henderson said he had no objection to the first amendment the Senate attached to his bill, and ITD testified in favor of it. Like his original bill, it merely pinpointed the end of the Garwood-to-Sagle project, this time at its north end. The second, however, which added a new reference to a 26-mile stretch of road in eastern Idaho that’s not currently in the GARVEE bond-funded construction program, was different. “It is my judgment that the 26 miles of roadway contained in the amendment … would represent an entirely new and very large GARVEE project.,” Henderson said. That, he said, needs approval from the state transportation board.