Eye On Boise

Task force reverses ‘doozy’ of a mistake, says trails funding should stay with parks

Rep. Maxine Bell, left, and Rep. Rich Wills, right, are among lawmakers on a legislative task force that on Tuesday voted to permanently restore trails funding to Idaho state parks that comes from the portion of gas taxes burned in off-road vehicles and boats. (Betsy Russell)
Rep. Maxine Bell, left, and Rep. Rich Wills, right, are among lawmakers on a legislative task force that on Tuesday voted to permanently restore trails funding to Idaho state parks that comes from the portion of gas taxes burned in off-road vehicles and boats. (Betsy Russell)

A legislative task force that's been looking into alternative funding sources for the Idaho State Police and the state parks trails program - rather than gas tax funds that long have gone to the two programs -  has voted unanimously to permanently restore the trails funding from gas taxes to the Department of Parks and Recreation. An earlier transportation funding plan would have shifted the money to the Idaho Transportation Department, but lawmakers decided that was a mistake; the funds are based on estimates of how much fuel is burned in off-road vehicles and boats. "When we make a mistake, we really do make a doozy," said Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome.

Now the panel is discussing how best to address the ISP funding. Among the proposals: A car insurance surcharge to make up for the lost gas tax money, or, ISP's preferred option, a vehicle registration increase. Gov. Butch Otter recommended putting the decision off for another year, allowing the gas tax money to continue to flow to ISP.




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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