The Idaho Legislature wrapped up its regular session earlier this month without resolving many transportation funding issues in the state. Among the bills that met their demise when lawmakers adjourned for the year was an effort that targeted truckers.
The House bill sought to implement a new mileage fee on large trucks. Registration fees also would have been amended.
Trucks weighing more than 60,000 pounds would have been required to pay $660 in annual registration fees. Truck owners also would have been responsible for an additional 4.5 cents for every mile traveled on Idaho roads.
The bill – H603 – remained in the House Transportation Committee when the session ended, effectively killing it for the year.
The registration fee now is determined by the maximum gross weight of a vehicle and the total number of miles driven on roads in the state.
According to a fiscal analysis on the bill, the fees would generate $57.5 million annually for transportation projects. Nearly $33 million would be allotted for state highways. Another $21 million would go for local projects while nearly $3 million would be earmarked for the State Police.
Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, owner of an Idaho trucking company, said more fees are needed because the current system allows out-of-state truckers to travel Idaho roads without paying their full share. Idaho-owned trucks would likely keep their costs stable, he said.
That sentiment left many truckers in Idaho scratching their heads. Provisions included in the bill would have hurt everybody, they said.
Also included in the bill was a provision that would have affected trucks at the county level. Registration fees would have been increased for vehicles with maximum gross weights between 8,000 pounds and 60,000 pounds.
While several other transportation funding efforts were met with resistance at the statehouse, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter signed off on a bill sent to him authorizing a new bonding authority of $134 million for road improvements throughout the state. It is the latest installment in the “Connecting Idaho” program.
Other funding measures are expected to be brought up for consideration during the 2009 regular session.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Idaho, click here.
– By Keith Goble, state legisliative editor