Governor's task force study analyzes proportion
trucks, passenger vehicles pay for transportation system
Initial findings from a study presented to the Governor's Task Force on Modernizing Transportation Funding this week suggest passenger cars may be paying a larger share than big trucks for Idaho's highways.
The study on the equity of Idaho's highway user fees was requested by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter when he formed the transportation task force in 2009. The task force, led by Lt. Gov. Brad Little, is examining traditional and non-traditional ways Idaho can fund its transportation system needs in the future.
The draft study estimated what five broad classes of vehicles pay for the maintenance, operation and improvement of the state's highways, roads, and streets. Its initial findings suggest that, in one scenario, combination trucks may be paying a smaller share — 14 percent less — while automobiles are paying 8 percent more for the state's transportation system.
"The subcommittee will review all the findings of the draft study and come back with recommendations to the full task force in a month," said Jim Kempton, co-chairman of the task force subcommittee that was responsible for looking at the equity of highway costs.
Idaho Transportation Board Chairman Darrell V Manning said the study could be a valuable tool for the task force and will factor into the discussion on how best to address the growing backlog of highway needs in the state.
"The study will improve our understanding of how the costs of our system are spread across different users," Manning said.
Researchers from the consulting firm Battelle analyzed costs attributable to various classes of vehicles over a six-year period (fiscal years 2007 to 2012) compared to the revenue they contribute. The preliminary study was based on a national model developed by the Federal Highway Administration.