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Eye On Boise

Idaho House votes 41-27 to shut off parking meters around the Capitol

The Idaho House has voted 41-27 in favor of HB 480, the bill from House Transportation Chairman Joe Palmer to turn off all parking meters around the Capitol during the legislative session, despite warnings from House members from Boise that it won't work. “I don't think there is a prayer, if these parking meters are hooded during the time we are in the session, that anyone who doesn't arrive in downtown Boise by 7 a.m. is going to get a parking spot around the Capitol building,” said Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise. Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, whose district includes the state Capitol, said, “There are tens of thousands of people that come downtown every day to work, and parking … is at a premium. What will happen inevitably is that people will show up, people who work in offices downtown, and they will get here very early, and they will park in those spots … and that's where their cars will remain for the entire day.”

Palmer, R-Meridian, told the House, “This is not a perfect bill. There is reasons to be against this bill. But I think it is a starting point.” He said if the law is enacted and it doesn't work out, “It's easy to repeal this” in a subsequent legislative session. Palmer said he's “had my share” of parking tickets, but that's not why he brought the bill; it's because a constituent complained to him after sitting for four hours in a legislative hearing only to not get to testify, then ended up with a parking ticket too at an expired two-hour parking meter. “We've had frustrated people here this year across the street telling us that they don't have access to us and they want to know how they can get better access to us,” Palmer said. “There is that problem of parking which I hear over and over.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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