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Eye On Boise

Thu., Feb. 16, 2012, 8:25 a.m.

Hammond: State will need to look at general funds for transportation in future…

Senate Transportation Chairman Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene, tells legislative budget writers Thursday that the state will have to look at investing general-fund money into transportation in the future, because current funding sources aren't keeping up with the needs. (Betsy Russell)
Senate Transportation Chairman Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene, tells legislative budget writers Thursday that the state will have to look at investing general-fund money into transportation in the future, because current funding sources aren't keeping up with the needs. (Betsy Russell)

Senate Transportation Chairman Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene, making his final presentation to JFAC (he's not seeking another term), told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee this morning this morning that Idaho is going to have to look seriously at spending some state general-fund money on transportation; it's now funded entirely by gas taxes, registration fees and federal funding. "There are over 574 bridges that are over 50 years old," Hammond said. "Truly we've got to address that issue. But beyond that, we're not even raising enough money to take care of the maintenance of our current system."

Hammond said, "We see diminishing revenue from the federal government, we see at this point diminishing revenue per car-mile traveled in terms of gas taxes. So we have to develop some alternatives. And quite frankly, I think we've moved way past the pay-as-you-go system, because of efficient cars, because of electric cars, becuase of other forms of transportation. Gas tax just doesn't do it by itself. So we have to look at our strategies."

He said, "We have an extremely expensive asset that is important to the state of Idaho. ... We have to take care of that."




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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