The way the numbers are currently shaping up, Idaho will have another $44.6 million or more to spend on road and bridge repairs next year, in addition to the $95 million provided by this year’s transportation funding bill, which includes a 7 cent per gallon gas tax hike that takes effect July 1. That’s because the bill also included a “surplus eliminator” that would provide additional funding for road work if state revenues come in higher than expected, and at this point, that’s exactly what they’re doing. The measure also would result in Idaho depositing a whopping $72.8 million into the Budget Stabilization Fund, the state’s main rainy-day account, next year.
The reason: The “surplus eliminator” provision splits uncommitted state general fund revenue surpluses 50-50 between the rainy-day fund and transportation; that means at least another $44.6 million also would go into savings. But that would be on top of the already-required deposit to the rainy-day fund, which based on rising revenues, now is estimated at $28.2 million. Lawmakers will consider all this when they reconvene next January; you can read my full column here from Sunday’s Spokesman-Review.