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Will the Legislature Adjourn without Giving Locals a Share of the Reauthorized Surplus Eliminator?

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 24, 2017

As the Idaho Legislature nears adjournment, it is not clear whether cities, counties and highway districts will receive badly needed surplus eliminator revenue to pay for road and bridge projects that will enhance safety, economic development and quality of life. 

AIC asks city officials to contact all the members of the Idaho House and Senate (link to document with emails at bottom of this post) to respectfully communicate to them that you strongly support the Legislature: (1) passing Senate Bill 1141, the emergency appropriation bill; and (2) reauthorizing the surplus eliminator for at least two years, with the revenue split 60% to the state and 40% to local highway jurisdictions.

The Legislature appears ready to approve $52 million in emergency funding for roads and bridges in counties where the Governor has declared a disaster (Senate Bill 1141).  We greatly appreciate this assistance that will help communities impacted by flooding this winter.

However, the emergency funding is one-time money that will only replace roads and bridges severely damaged by this winter’s storms.  The needs on the local highway system are much greater than what the emergency funding can fix.

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 (ITD).  None of the revenue from the surplus eliminator is currently shared with local highway jurisdictions. 

AIC supports reauthorizing the surplus eliminator for at least two years, with the revenue allocated 60% to ITD and 40% to local highway jurisdictions.  The local share could be allocated in grants 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.

Local highway jurisdictions face a very difficult situation: many have blown through their maintenance budgets as the worst winter storm in decades forced them to spend unprecedented amounts on snow removal and winter maintenance.   

A share of the surplus eliminator will help these local highway jurisdictions to address the most important road and bridge projects on the local highway system.

AIC asks city officials to contact all the members of the Idaho House and Senate to respectfully communicate to them that you strongly support the Legislature: (1) passing Senate Bill 1141, the emergency appropriation bill; and (2) reauthorizing the surplus eliminator for at least two years, with the revenue split 60% to the state and 40% to local highway jurisdictions.

Below is a link to a document with email addresses for all members of the Senate and House.  

Download File (DOCX)

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