Idaho panel to craft roads options

| 9/29/2004

Members of a transportation task force say they have some ideas about solving Idaho’s backlog of highway improvement projects.

One scheme appears weighted toward dipping into truck drivers’ pockets.

Idaho Transportation Board Chairman Chuck Winder hopes some solution can be found because the state’s roads and bridges have $7 billion in identified needs, The Associated Press reported.

The Forum on Transportation Investment convened Sept. 27 in Boise. The 40-member panel, appointed by the state Transportation Board, will meet across the state over the next 18 months to gather information and develop opinions that will culminate in recommendations to state officials and others, said Sue Higgins, Transportation Board spokeswoman. Those meetings have not yet been scheduled.

Higgins said no specifics were offered about what steps the task force would take.

Winder did note that more fuel-efficient vehicles mean less fuel tax money to the state for miles driven. Taxing vehicles based on weight may be better, he said.

Anyone interested in attending a Forum meeting can contact Julie Pipal, ITD’s manager of budget, policy and intergovernmental relations, at (208) 334-8804.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor