Rather than come up with specific proposals to raise gas taxes, registration fees or other revenue sources, the governor’s transportation funding task force has opted to simply send along a matrix it agreed to earlier in which it defined and prioritized the various ways the state could raise hundreds of millions more for roads. Increasing fuel tax is at the top of the list. The task force also has agreed to forward a recommendation from its cost allocation subcommittee to consider phasing over several years any moves to correct equity between how much cars and heavy trucks pay for roads; included a call for re-examining distribution formulas to local highway jurisdictions; and noted a subcommittee’s list of possible ways to fund public transportation in the long term, including local-option taxes.
This goes along with the task force’s determination that Idaho needs $543 million a year more to address its transportation needs. “Chairman Lake was exactly right - we can’t get there from here with the fuel taxes and things in the economy that we have,” said task force member Jim Kempton. “There may be a time in the future we can do it. We can’t do it now.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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