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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Road funding: ‘A widening gap’

Transportation consultant David Hartgen said he doesn't think Idaho's revenues for transportation will get much higher than 3 percent annual growth, given current funding sources, and they could drop well below that "if economic circumstances don't turn around." The result: A "widening gap" by the end of this decade between needs and funding that could hit $250 million, and that "obviously requires some attention." Other states also are facing similar issues, he said; from 2008 to 2010, 94 legislative proposals passed around the country, with the largest number, 23, dealing with bonding, followed by fuel tax changes, and smaller numbers on private-sector projects, vehicle registration fees, toll roads, and shifting funds from other areas.

New concepts like fees for vehicle miles traveled, congestion pricing or carbon taxes haven't advanced at all, Hartgen said. "Interestingly enough, there's been almost no movement - a lot of talk, but no movement. ... A lot of stuff that's gotten attention in the press and in the trade publications regarding the future of transportation funding hasn't moved yet into the legislative forum."

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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