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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Do cars and pickups pay too much, heavy trucks too little? 2007 study said so, but was never finalized

As Idaho prepares to consider raising car or truck fees to address a huge shortfall in road funding, a 2007 state study that showed car and pickup owners pay more than their share and subsidize heavy trucks has languished, unfinalized. A copy of the study, obtained today by The Spokesman-Review under the Idaho Public Records Law, shows that since the previous study in 2002, a rough balance between cars and heavy trucks has tilted. “Autos and pickup users are overpaying about 10 percent, while all trucks are underpaying about 10 percent,” the study found.

Draft results from the $20,000 study were presented to the Idaho Transportation Board in October 2007, but shortly after that, Pam Lowe, Idaho Transportation Department director, decided to scrap it. Lowe said she didn’t hear from any interest groups objecting to it. Instead, she said she was concerned with statements in the study, prepared by Palouse Partners Inc. of Pullman, that suggested glitches between Idaho’s record-keeping system and the software used for the study could result in some inaccuracies. “My own consultant was saying it might not be valid,” Lowe said.

State Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, said, “I was frustrated that they didn’t finalize that cost allocation study, because it really would have been helpful in the debate.” But Kathy Fowers, president of the Idaho Trucking Association, said, “We never really approved of that study. … A cost allocation study is only as good as the people who participate in it. It can be very political.” You can read my full story here at, and see the draft study here.

Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.