ACHD not backing highway maintenance bill

Posted at 5:26 PM, Mar 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-07 22:30:44-05

A clerical error at the Idaho Capitol made it appear that the Ada County Highway District was backing legislation to change a 2013 law regarding the responsibilities of highway districts around the state.

The legislation has been interpreted as an ACHD attempt to shirk snow removal responsibilities.

Friday, Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, introduced legislation changing the definition of "maintenance" for highway districts in Idaho code.

"The highway districts came to me asking that we change this back to the definition as it was previously in the law," Loertscher said.

On the meeting agenda, it appeared the ACHD was bringing forth the legislation.

"At this point our commission has not taken a vote on whether or not to support this" ACHD Spokesman Craig Quintana said. "They may well decide to back this piece of legislation, but at this point, yeah, no formal stance."

Under the proposal, highway districts around the state would not be required to remove snow from city sidewalks.

"Honestly, across the county, not just in Idaho, typically the responsibility for keeping the sidewalk clear comes down to the property owner,"  Quintana said.

Loertscher says the legislation was meant to bring clarity to the law, not to create more confusion.

"[It is] just so they advert problems in the future and they don't have any misunderstandings with cities," Loertscher said.

As for allegations the ACHD is using the bill to diminish their responsibility for snow removal, Quintana says that claim is unfounded.

"ACHD is not trying to get out of the snow removal business," Quintana said.