What to Watch: Week of March 1

1 Mar 2021, by Sara Westbrook Share :
One Time Transportation Funding

Keep an eye on the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee this week. They will likely hear a transportation supplemental of $126 million. This would be split with 60 percent going to the state and the other 40 percent ($47 million in one-time transportation funding). The funds would
be allocated through the highway distribution account which would apportion 30 percent to cities and the remaining 70 percent to counties and highway districts.

Interstate Air Travel Aid

Tomorrow, March 2nd, Senate Bill 1103 will be heard in the Senate Transportation Committee at 1:30 pm MST. This bill, sponsored by Senator Dan Johnson, could have a significant impact on bringing back interstate flights to your respective areas. The bill would create an Air Travel
Enhancement Fund that would be administered by the Idaho Division of Aeronautics Board. The money appropriated in the fund would be awarded out as grants to be used as match with local funds and possibly federal funds (when available) to entice regional airlines to serve your areas once again with interstate flights. Please reach out to the Senate Transportation Members by this Tuesday to express your support
and ask them to vote “Yes” on Senate Bill 1103.

You can find their contact information by clicking here. You can watch a live stream of the hearing by following this link.

Broadband

House Bill 127 sponsored by Rep. Megan Blanksma will likely be heard on the House floor today. This bill creates an Idaho Broadband Advisory Board and establishes a broadband fund. The board will be made up of three House members, three Senate members, and three members of the public appointed by the governor. The IAC Legislative Committee voted to support H127.

IAC will continue talks with Governor Little to make sure that county interests are represented on the board should this bill go into effect.
The focus of this legislation is to provide financial assistance in broadband infrastructure to promote equal access in economic development, public safety, telehealth, and education. We encourage you to reach out to your Representatives this morning and ask them to vote Yes on House Bill 127.

Senate Bill 1149, sponsored by Senator Doug Ricks, was introduced late last week in the Senate State Affairs Committee and will likely receive a full hearing later this week. This bill would provide express authority for counties, cities, and port districts to provide broadband infrastructure to encourage private service providers to be able to serve communities and ensure Idahoans can connect to affordable high-speed internet.

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