Idaho transportation deal covers one-third of annual funding shortfall

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 4/14/2015

A deal reached at the Idaho Legislature will boost road revenue in the state by $94 million each year.

State lawmakers spent much of the three-month session that wrapped up over the weekend trying to reach consensus on a plan to help the state address a $262 million annual shortfall for road work.

A House-Senate conference committee met last week to work out the details for a plan to pay for road and bridge work throughout the state.

The full House and Senate followed with votes in the wee hours of Saturday, April 11, to approve the final version of the funding plan before adjourning the regular session. The bill, H312, now moves to Gov. Butch Otter’s desk for his signature.

Legislators agreed on a plan that includes a 7-cent-per-gallon fuel tax increase to 32 cents. The increase is estimated to raise $63 million annually.

The state’s fuel tax rate now is set at 25 cents per gallon. The rate has remained unchanged since 1996.

A separate provision in the bill increases vehicle registration fees by $25 for large trucks. Owners of 80,000-pound trucks driven more than 50,000 miles would pay $3,485 – up from $3,460.

Owners of personal vehicles would pay $21 more per year. The additional revenue from the vehicle fees is estimated at $31 million per year.

The state’s highway fund would receive 60 percent of the new revenue each year from vehicle fee and fuel tax increases. Local governments would divvy up the other 40 percent.

In addition, a portion of any budget surpluses in future years would be routed to transportation.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Idaho, click here.

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