Here’s a link to my full story at spokesman.com on how Idaho senators took a $20 million road-funding bill from the House on Tuesday and turned it into a phased-in, $127 million plan, in hopes of wrapping up a legislative session that’s now the 12th longest in state history. The original House bill would have raised registration fees on cars and trucks by $15 apiece next year, plus imposed new fees on electric and hybrid cars. The amended version from the Senate ups the registration fee increase to $25, slightly lowers the hybrid fee, and tacks on a 10-cent increase in the gas tax to be phased in over the next four years. On Tuesday evening, the Senate approved the amended bill on a 22-13 vote, sending it back to the House.
Senate Transportation Chairman Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, noted that the state faces a $262 million annual shortfall for maintenance of its roads and bridges. “It’s been a long time arriving at this point, and I think this is a good compromise,” he told the Senate. “Some think this is maybe too high, some think it is too low, but it is a good down payment on our shortfall.”
Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, said, “We could adjourn sine die with this legislation – maybe even tomorrow, Thursday at the latest.”