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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Some task force members wary of any suggestion trucks underpay

Several members of the governor's task force are expressing squeamishness over wording in their proposed resolution that calls for the state to "move toward a more balanced system of cost responsibility between broad classes of vehicles, but ... do so in a way that does not place an undue financial burden on a single class of highway users or hamper the competitiveness of Idaho businesses." Rep. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, said he wanted that statement removed. Jim Riley, a task force member, said he thinks the system's already balanced now, between how much trucks and cars pay - despite the findings of a cost-allocation study that the task force voted unanimously to accept, and which found that currently, cars and pickups overpay for their wear and tear on the roads, and heavy trucks underpay.

Riley recommended deleting any reference to "move toward a more balanced system" and just saying the state should "maintain a generally balanced" system. Rep. Bill Killen, D-Boise, said the wording made sense as-is; task force member Jim Kempton, who chaired the subcommittee on cost allocation, agreed. House Transportation Chair JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, said what lawmakers went through on the weight-distance tax on trucks was "agonizing," and "We really thought we had it worked out well," but that proved not to be the case. "I think there needs to be some correction, no doubt about it," Wood said. She said she recognized some members' "discomfort," and would support Riley's proposal. "I know we've got to work on it," Wood said.

After much debate, Kempton proposed that the clause say "maintain a balanced system," and the panel generally agreed.

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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