One of the most important bills of the session came last week from the House Transportation & Defense Committee, which voted to introduce House Bill 158 on reauthorizing the state surplus eliminator.
We strongly encourage city officials to contact members of the House Transportation & Defense Committee (see list below) to respectfully ask for their support of this critical piece of legislation. Any specific examples you can share of damage your city suffered from this year’s severe winter weather will make your case even more compelling.
House Bill 158 is sponsored by Rep. Clark Kauffman, R-Filer and Rep. Rick Youngblood, R-Nampa. The bill would extend the state surplus eliminator for two additional years, and provide that the revenue be split 60% to the Idaho Transportation Department and 40% to local highway jurisdictions.
The state surplus eliminator is set to sunset this year and allocates half of state general fund surplus revenue to transportation projects for the Idaho Transportation Department. None of the revenue from the surplus eliminator is currently shared with local highway jurisdictions.
Under House Bill 158, the local highway jurisdictions’ share will be allocated in grants administered by the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council awarded based on return on investment in the following categories:
- Safety, including reduction of crashes, injuries, and fatalities;
- Mobility, including traffic-flow improvements for freight and passenger cars;
- Economic opportunity, including projected cost-benefit ratio for users and businesses;
- Repair and maintenance of bridges; and
- Purchase of public rights of way.
House Bill 158 will allow cities, counties and highway districts to have an equitable share of surplus eliminator revenues at a time when local roads and bridges need considerable work because of severe winter storms and flooding.
The grants awarded under House Bill 158 will fund projects that will save lives, help Idaho businesses, and repair critical bridges in our local highway system.
House Bill 158 addresses state and local transportation funding needs without increasing gas taxes or vehicle registration fees.
The transportation funding bill passed two years ago, added about $100 million of new revenue for state and local highway systems, which is considerably less than the $260 million annual transportation funding deficit for the state and local highway systems.
Idaho cities have 2,600 centerline miles of city streets and 267 bridges to maintain.
More investment in Idaho’s roads and bridges will create jobs and preserve our vital infrastructure.
You can contact members of the House Transportation & Defense Committee at the emails listed below.
Rep. Joe Palmer, Meridian, Chair: email@example.com
Rep. Paul E. Shepherd, Riggins, Vice Chair: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Terry Gestrin, Donnelly: email@example.com
Rep. Brandon A. Hixon, Caldwell: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Clark Kauffman, Filer: email@example.com
Rep. Kelley Packer, McCammon: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Rick D. Youngblood, Nampa: email@example.com
Rep. Patrick McDonald, Boise: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Sage G. Dixon, Ponderay: email@example.com
Rep. Steven Harris, Meridian: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. James Holtzclaw, Meridian: email@example.com
Rep. Jason A. Monks, Nampa: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, Eagle: email@example.com
Rep. Scott Syme, Caldwell: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Phylis K. King, Boise: email@example.com
Rep. Melissa Wintrow, Boise: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. John Gannon, Boise: email@example.com