Idaho governor reiterates support for higher taxes and fees for roads

| 7/23/2007

An increase in taxes and fees for transportation in Idaho isn’t all that bad of a proposition for Gov. Butch Otter.

The governor recently repeated his endorsement for increasing revenue for road and bridge work in the state by $200 million. It could be a major point of emphasis during the 2008 regular session.

The Idaho Transportation Department this past fall unveiled the plan to increase the state’s per-gallon fuel tax rate. Higher fees for registration and agency services also were revealed, The Associated Press reported.

This spring, Otter said the changes would likely be necessary. He cited less federal funding for transportation that could leave the state billions of dollars short for road work during the next 20 years.

Those concerns were revisited earlier this month when Otter said the price tags for fixing Interstate 84 and U.S. 95 are exceeding the transportation agency’s roughly $500 million annual budget and the $1 billion “Connecting Idaho” bonds-for-roads program, The AP reported.

Otter said he understands that the public doesn’t want to hear about higher taxes but he said the need cannot be ignored.

In November, The Idaho Transportation Board recommended boosting the 25-cent per-gallon fuel tax, as well as adding a sales tax to fuel purchases. They also recommended boosting fees for trucking permits.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Idaho in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor