Senate Transportation Chairman Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, is presenting his amendments now; they’re co-sponsored by Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint. They would add an additional $10 registration fee for all automobiles and trucks, on top of the $15 increases already proposed in HB 312, for a total $25 increase; that and other changes raise the total amount generated from increased fees from $20 million a year to $36 million a year. They would adjust downward the fees proposed for electric and hybrid vehicles from $150 to $140 a year for electric cars, and from $100 to $75 for hybrids. They also would raise Idaho’s gas tax by 10 cents a gallon, with the increase phased in over a four-year period.
All told, the bill, with the Brackett/Keough amendments, if they were approved, would raise $127 million more a year for roads and bridges.
The phased gas-tax increase would start with a four-cent hike on July 1, 2015, taking Idaho’s 25 cent per gallon fuel tax up to 29 cents. That would be followed by another bump to 33 cents a gallon on July 1, 2017; and another bump up to 35 cents a gallon on July 1, 2019.
Additional provisions in the Brackett/Keough amendments to HB 312 include a three-year phase-in to a change in how gaseous fuels are taxed; and legislative intent stating that within five years, Idaho would move to a “weight class total miles for trucks, heavy trucks,” Brackett told the Senate. In addition, another section of legislative intent would require all additional money raised by the bill and amendments to “go strictly for road and bridge maintenance and replacement at the state and local level,” and an additional section would require annual reports to the Legislature. A final section of legislative intent calls for more enforcement of restrictions on dyed diesel.