The Idaho Transportation Board recommends improving the state's highways and bridges by increasing transportation funding an additional $203 million annually.
The transportation board will make the recommendation to the governor and Idaho Legislature next session.
"Skyrocketing construction and maintenance costs, stagnant revenues and Idaho's explosive growth have created a funding crisis that needs to be addressed," Idaho Transportation Board Chairman Frank Bruneel said. "Funding for Idaho's surface transportation system needs over the next 30 years will be $6.1 billion short, or more than an additional $200 million annually. Solutions to this challenge require innovative and non-traditional funding sources and must be addressed now."
The investment plan is based on a report from the Forum on Transportation Investment, an independent group charged with recommending options for funding improvements to Idaho's transportation system. The forum conducted 14 statewide meetings over the last two years gathering ideas on transportation funding.
A final report on the forum's 12 conclusions and 14 recommendations was made to the transportation board in early November.
Dramatic increases in the price of concrete, asphalt, steel and fuel have driven construction costs up - an estimated 11 percent in 2004 and another 16 percent in 2006.
Idaho's growth has also strained transportation resources. Idaho is the third fastest growing state in the nation. Between 2000 and 2030, Idaho's population will grow an estimated 56 percent.
Idaho's fuel tax, currently at 25 cents per gallon, has not been increased since 1996. Vehicle registration fees, ranging from $24 to $48, have not been increased since 1997. Inflation and more fuel-efficient vehicles have flattened the primary sources for funding the state's transportation improvements.
Since 1998, revenue to the state's general fund has increased 85 percent, while funds to the state's Highway Distribution Account have only risen 15 percent.
Idaho's 25 cent per gallon fuel tax is currently ranked 21st in the nation. New York's state fuel tax is the nation's highest at 45.13 cents per gallon. The state's registration fees are ranked 37th (based on registering a 2006 Toyota Camry) at $49 per vehicle. In Maine, motorists pay $435 annually to register the same Camry – the highest in the nation.
The transportation board will recommend:
The chart below details the funding plan: