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Eye On Boise

Otter’s transportation funding task force won’t report ‘til 2011 session

Gov. Butch Otter talks about his transportation funding task force, which will take the next 18 months to come up with recommendations. At left is Senate Transportation Chairman John McGee, R-Caldwell. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Gov. Butch Otter talks about his transportation funding task force, which will take the next 18 months to come up with recommendations. At left is Senate Transportation Chairman John McGee, R-Caldwell. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Gov. Butch Otter today named his task force to find solutions for transportation funding in Idaho - but said they'll bring their recommendations forward in December of 2010. That means nothing for the next legislative session - the election-year session that starts in January of 2010. "Obviously, there's a lot of work to do," Otter said when asked about the time frame. "That gives them plenty of time." The 15-member task force, he said, is "not going to hurry into anything - all options are on the table." Asked if his announcement means he won't be proposing transportation funding legislation - tax or fee increases - next year as he did this year, Otter said, "It doesn't mean I will, and doesn't mean I won't." He said lawmakers "made a good point" when they complained that transportation already was getting lots of funding this year, between the big investments from the federal economic stimulus and GARVEE bonding. "Perhaps we have enough money for a while," Otter said. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

Senate Transportation Chairman John McGee, R-Caldwell, who joined Otter in answering reporters' questions after the groundbreaking ceremony today for the 10-Mile Interchange on I-84 in Meridian, said, "The task force the governor put together is not a one-year or a two-year look at transportation in Idaho - it's looking into the future. So hopefully we take the time to do it right."

Otter noted that a legislative task force looking into replacement funding for gas taxes that now go to fund the Idaho State Police and parks and recreation could well propose legislation next year. Here's the governor's 15-member task force: It'll be chaired by Lt. Gov. Brad Little. Members will include McGee; House Transportation Chairwoman JoAn Wood, R-Rigby; Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson; Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint; Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise; Sen. Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello; Rep. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian; Rep. Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot; Rep. Leon Smith, R-Twin Falls; Rep. Bill Killen, D-Boise; Idaho PUC Chairman Jim Kempton; Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mark Bowen; Valley County Commissioner Gordon Cruickshank; and Intermountain Forest Association President Jim Riley.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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