The Senate Transportation Committee agreed Thursday to introduce Sen. Jack Riggs’ legislation to upgrade U.S. Highway 95 and four other routes around the state.
“Although much work has been done on these highways, there are bottlenecks on each of these that really create a safety hazard and an impediment to commercial traffic,” the Coeur d’Alene Republican told the committee.
The project would be paid for by a temporary increase in car registration fees of between $18 and $48, depending on the age of the car. Cars from 1990 or older would have no fee increase; that’s 51 percent of the state’s vehicles, Riggs said.
The program would run for 12 years, paying for major safety improvement projects on the highways for which there now is no money.
Sen. Evan Frasure, R-Pocatello, the committee chairman, said the bill may need some “tweaking,” but he said he supports the concept.
A bill calling for a giant bond issue to upgrade Highway 95 passed the House last year but died by one vote in Frasure’s committee.
Riggs said he’s hopeful the measure will win the committee’s approval this time. Just one member, Sen. Jerry Thorne, R-Nampa, voted against introducing it.
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