The ping-pong of transportation plans between the Idaho House and Senate promises to make this a long week at the Capitol.
This afternoon, the House rejected a Senate proposal to phase in a 10-cent hike in the gas tax over the next four years, putting the tax at 35 cents per gallon by 2019. It also would raised vehicle registration fees by $25.
All told, the measure would have raised close to $130 million dollars for highways.
The Speaker of the House said he will ask the Senate for a conference committee to try to come to a deal on roads and bridge funding.
The Idaho legislature originally planned to adjourn on March 27, but the two bodies have been unable to agree on how to fund hundreds of millions of dollars in overdue repairs on Idaho’s transportation infrastructure.
The Senate took up their bill first time at 3 p.m on Tuesday. By 6 p.m., it had been amended and sent on to the House. It passed the Senate 22-13.
Democratic Sen. Grant Burgoyne called it a major tax bill but said his constituents would never have the opportunity to comment on it.
“Because this bill didn’t exist yesterday,” he said. “It didn’t even exist this morning.”
But Sen. Jim Rice, a Republican, argued the conversation about the maintenance backlog on roads and bridges in Idaho has been going on for years.
“While we haven’t discussed the exact specifics of the amount in this bill, there won’t be any surprises to any of the voters who sent me,” Rice said.