Legislature 2019

BOISE — A bill to extend a program that puts some surplus state money into road maintenance is headed to the Senate floor.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously and with no debate Thursday to approve a bill extending, for another five years, the “surplus eliminator” lawmakers created in 2015.

The bill would preserve the current split, where half the money goes into the state’s Budget Stabilization Fund and the other half to roads, with 60 percent going to the Idaho Transportation Department’s Strategic Initiatives Fund and 40 percent to the Local Strategic Initiatives Fund, which is administered by the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council. The bill would cap the “surplus eliminator” at $100 million, meaning the two road funds would get a maximum of $50 million per year. However, there has only been one year since 2015 where it has exceeded $100 million, said committee Chairman Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Three Creek.

The committee unanimously approved Idaho Falls resident Robert Hoff’s appointment to the Idaho Transportation Board through Jan. 31, 2020, finishing the term of Lee Gagner, who stepped down in January. And it approved, also unanimously, a bill to create a “Too Great for Hate” custom license plate. Money raised from plate sales would help support the work of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights and fund and expand human rights programming at the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise.

Both the surplus eliminator and license plate bills will, if they pass the Senate, then have to pass the House before becoming law.

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757. Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.

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