Boise Democrat Brian Cronin wants the Legislature to approve a measure that would create a new license plate that would bring in mountain bike trail maintenance funds to the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.
Cronin pitched the plan to the House Transportation and Defense Committee Tuesday, saying that Idaho's more than 12,000 miles in trails are in continuous need of repair and upkeep and the money generated from the sale of the plates would help the state provide materials and labor for trail maintenance. In an interview with IdahoReporter.com following the hearing, Cronin said the new plates could generate as much as $10,000 annually for the state.
People are assessed extra charges for the designer plate only if they choose it when they register their motor vehicles. Cronin stressed that this is not a measure to require license plate for bicycles. The plates would be similar to others offered by the state. Idaho already has a myriad of plates available for drivers to choose from, offering everything from plates recognizing potatoes, firefighters, or the National Rifle Association, to those honoring veterans or Idaho colleges and universities. Specialty plates are not required by the state and drivers have the option to choose to have the standard red, white, blue plates offered by the Division of Motor Vehicles. (You can see the full offering here.)
According to Cronin, drivers who choose the biking plates would be charged $35 for a first time registration, with $13 of that going to the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and the other $22 going to Parks and Rec for trail upkeep. For annual renewal, drivers would pay $25, with the standard $13 going to ITD and $12 going for trails.
The plates have a colorful mountain biker on the left side and it is unclear if the biker is a male or female, which was a concern of Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise. Cronin said it appears to him that the biker is a male, but it can be open to interpretation.
"Well, you've lost my vote," said King jokingly.
The committee voted to introduce the bill. Rep. Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, and Rep. Leon Smith, R-Twin Falls, voted against the measure.