With communities across Idaho flooding under melting snow and ice and roads and bridges suffering under a worse-than-average winter, a House committee Friday stuck a legislative finger in the dike with modest bills to deliver more money for transportation maintenance and repair.
But a divided Transportation committee killed the biggest-ticket measure that would have raised $49 million for roads and bridges with a five-cent gas tax hike. The measure died on a 9-7 vote.
“We have a surplus this year and a decent surplus, and I’m not inclined to raise taxes in a surplus year,” said Rep. Brandon Hixon, R-Caldwell, before voting against the measure.
Supporters of the proposal from Rep. Clark Kauffman, R-Filer, cited the extreme winter weather that has wrought heavy damage and underscored the state’s unmet transportation repair needs. They said surplus funds were earmarked for other uses and not appropriate for ongoing maintenance.