What to Watch For: January 24-28

24 Jan 2022, by Sara Westbrook Share :

Governor’s Transportation Budget to Be Heard Soon

The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee will likely hold hearings on Governor Little’s transportation budget either the first or second week of February. This means transportation funding will likely be top of mind during our Midwinter Legislative Conference.

Governor Little is championing historic investments in transportation without raising taxes or fees. The budget particularly focuses on addressing state and local deferred maintenance and one-time investments for local bridge improvements. These investments would be game changing for counties who do their own transportation.

Break Down of the Transportation Funding

  • Adds $200 million as an ongoing investment package, split between the state ($120 million) and local governments ($80 million). The local government portion would be distributed through the highway distribution formula with 35% to counties, 35% to highway districts and 30% to cities. This would result in approximately $28 Million of ongoing money being distributed to counties who do road and bridge for ongoing maintenance needs.
  • Adds $200 million as a one-time investment package to improve local bridges. Idaho has 966 local bridges that are more than 50 years old, and many that are closed or have restrictions that impede commerce. This investment would allow local governments to improve approximately one-third of these deficient bridges. Most of this money would go through LHTAC, meaning counties, highway districts and cities would use a competitive grant process to qualify for the bridge grants. This would allow for more expensive projects to be addressed as opposed to if the money went through the highway distribution formula.

Call to Action

When legislators are considering budget votes, most want to know how those budget dollars will be spent and how that money could directly benefit their districts. Prepare to visit with your legislators about transportation needs in your county and how those needs would be addressed with the Governor’s proposed transportation budget. County commissioners, please reach out to your Road and Bridge department managers and ask them what deferred maintenance projects your county would be able to address if the new ongoing maintenance funding goes into place.

When discussing local bridge improvements with your legislators, feel free to use the table below to directly show your legislators which local bridges need to be addressed for the safety of Idahoans in your county as well as the economic advantages the improved bridges may supply. The table also includes highway districts and cities, so you can use it to provide a full picture of the needs this funding could address in your legislative district.

Idaho Local Bridges Poor and Posted with Legislative Districts