Posts tagged: Idaho transportation funding
Idaho's long-awaited survey on transportation improvements is out from the University of Idaho, and it turns out an overwhelming majority of Idahoans think Idaho's roads and bridges need big fixes or they'll fail in the next 10 years. However, the options to pay for that work that drew support in the survey clearly wouldn't raise enough money, while bigger-ticket answers, including gas tax increases, drew less support.
“The conclusion I drew is that our elected leaders are going to have to figure out how to raise revenue for something Idaho voters clearly see as important,” said Priscilla Salant, a University of Idaho professor and interim director of the McClure Center for Public Policy, which released the survey results today. “They have their work cut out for them.”
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter had been waiting for the results of the survey before proposing big road fixes, an issue he made a top priority during his first term in office, but abandoned for the past few years after legislative defeats; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Idaho Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, wants the state's Office of Performance Evaluations to scrutinize whether the $840 million “Connecting Idaho” highway building program accomplished what it promised, or whether the state would have been better off forgoing the bonding program and sticking to its traditional, pay-as-you-go system of highway funding. To cover bonds, Idaho is paying about $50 million annually over the next two decades, some 20 percent of its federal highway funding allotment. Winder, a former Idaho Transportation Board chairman and third-term senator who supported the bonding plan, told the AP it's a good time for the review, with Idaho lawmakers unlikely to tackle significant transportation funding in 2014. Though the state faces a huge backlog in needed transportation improvements, lawmakers say fixes are unlikely to come in an election year. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.