AASHTO Journal

Idaho Gov. Otter Allows Legislature’s $320M Project Funding Measure to Take Effect

A measure the Idaho Legislature recently passed to provide a reported $320 million in extra funding for road and bridge projects, became law without the signature of Gov. Butch Otter.

The new law allows the state to issue up to $300 million in new bond debt, to be repaid by Idaho's future allocations from the federal Highway Trust Fund. Lawmakers specified that the bond revenue only be spent on specific projects from a list contained in the legislation.

dollarpump.jpgIt also carves out one percent of state sales tax receipts for transportation projects, and extends a provision that devotes to transportation a share of each year's general fund surplus, the Idaho Mountain Express reported.

But the governor, in a letter to his secretary of state, listed both his reasons for withholding his signature and for letting the legislation take effect anyway.

Otter objected to paying for road projects with sales tax revenues and general fund receipts – including "year-to-year financial windfalls" – that put transportation in competition for funds with other state government functions. He also said the state's "transportation funding streams are tenuous," partly due to the potential for federal reductions.

However, Otter said the safety and commercial risks of not funding projects in congested corridors outweighed his reservations, adding that current prospects "to generate additional long-term transportation funding for Idaho's road and bridges . . . are too remote to let this opportunity pass."

"Immediate needs require immediate action," Otter said, "and with all its flaws [the legislation] provides at least a short-term response."

KTVB reported that the Idaho Transportation Department would submit a number of projects in the coming week to the Idaho Transportation Board, which will decide which ones to fund with the added revenue.

Questions regarding this article may be directed to editor@aashtojournal.org.

Recommended Stories

Connecticut Governor Orders Electronic Tolling Study

Outgoing Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) signed an executive order on July 17 to conduct a "comprehensive assessment" of the state's electronic tolling plan to ensure that out-of-state drivers "contribute their fair share" to the operation and maintenance of...

July 27, 2018

MoDOT Joins Fight against Human Trafficking

The Missouri Department of Transportation is the latest state DOT to join a national effort aimed at eliminating human trafficking in the United States.

July 27, 2018

WSDOT Issues Comprehensive Pavement Preventative Maintenance Study

A six-year study of hot mix asphalt preventive maintenance techniques conducted by the Washington State Department of Transportation indicates that a range of "treatments" can effectively extend pavement life, using a combination of crack sealing, chip sealing and dig outs can extend...

July 27, 2018

Past Issues

Issue Date: