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Bill would shut off parking meters

Fri., Feb. 24, 2012

Measure targets slots downtown around Capitol

BOISE – The Idaho House voted 41-27 Thursday to shut off parking meters around the state Capitol during legislative sessions, over the objections of the city of Boise and an array of Boise legislators.

House Transportation Chairman Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, said he’s “had my share” of parking tickets, but that’s not why he brought the bill. He said a constituent complained to him after sitting for four hours in a legislative hearing without getting to testify, then ended up with a parking ticket, too.

Said Palmer, “There is that problem of parking which I hear over and over.”

But Boise lawmakers warned the move wouldn’t increase anyone’s access to the legislative session. 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, a new committee chairman this year who’s pushing his first major legislative proposal, 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.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where it likely will be assigned to the Senate Transportation Committee.

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