March 14, 2012 in Idaho

House OKs parking garage by Capitol

Bill’s co-sponsor shifts energy from shutting down meters
By The Spokesman-Review

BOISE – The sponsor of a bill to disable parking meters around the Idaho Capitol – whose son racked up numerous unpaid parking tickets in that area – now is co-sponsoring a bill that would instead pay to build a $7 million parking garage nearby.

The Idaho House approved the bill, which now moves to the Idaho Senate. The state would use savings from refinancing existing state bonds to pay for the multilevel garage.

House members said it’s a better fix than the bill passed earlier to shut off parking meters near the Capitol during the session.

“We’ve gone round and round on parking issues this year, on this floor and in the committees,” said House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. “This is a permanent fix to the problem.”

Earlier, the House passed legislation to shut down parking meters around the Capitol during legislative sessions, despite opposition from the city of Boise, which warned all-day parkers would monopolize those public spaces.

After the vote, news emerged that the son of the bill’s sponsor, House Transportation Chairman Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, had numerous unpaid parking tickets in the area and had his car towed for unpaid tickets on the first day of this year’s legislative session. Palmer is a co-sponsor of the parking garage bill.

The meter bill didn’t get a committee hearing in the Senate.

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