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Eye On Boise

New transportation funding bill not introduced quite yet, but coming…

Well, that was weird. The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to introduce the new version of Sen. Bert Brackett’s transportation bill this afternoon, at a meeting that was first scheduled for 1, then moved back to 1:15, and then didn’t start until 1:30. But neither the bill nor Brackett had arrived. Committee Chair Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, moved his item to the end of the agenda, but when Brackett and the bill still hadn’t arrived, Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, moved to adjourn.

Moments later, Brackett and the new bill arrived. Davis already had left. Lodge said she’ll “buck-slip” the bill – a procedure, generally used only late in the session, where every committee member’s signature is required, and then the bill will come out of the committee and be directed to the Senate Transportation Committee, which Brackett chairs, for a hearing tomorrow.

“I’m going to buck-slip it right now, because this is important to Canyon County,” Lodge said. If she can’t get every committee member to sign, she’d have to schedule another Judiciary Committee meeting.

The new bill reportedly contains everything that was in a big transportation package introduced on Friday, plus several more pieces. That means $300 million in new GARVEE bonding for road projects; $200 million in general obligation bonds to be paid off by sales taxes; a five-year extension of the surplus eliminator; shifting ISP off the highway fund and replacing its lost funds with a dedicated share of Idaho’s sales tax; and more. New items to be added to the package would include allowing counties to impose a 1 percent local-option sales tax for transportation projects.

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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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