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Lawmakers eyeing plans to increase money for Idaho roads

Posted: 4:09 PM, Jan 14, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-14 18:09:30-05

BOISE, Idaho — Two methods to bring in millions of dollars to pay for maintaining Idaho’s roads gained traction with lawmakers on Tuesday.

The House Transportation and Defense Committee voted to send to the full House a bill that would use money generated from investing about $275 million sitting in the state’s rainy-day account.

Republican Rep. Joe Palmer said the investment account would still serve as an emergency reserve should an economic slowdown occur.

Palmer attempted to get the same legislation made into law last year, but the Legislature adjourned before that could happen. He said, had the Economic Reserve and Investment Fund been created last year, it would have generated about $17 million for roads.

The same committee also voted to hold a hearing on another plan to double to 2-percent the amount of money dedicated to roads from the state’s sales tax. That would bring in $36 million annually.

(photo courtesy: Idaho Transportation Dept.)