Bill Description: House Bill 132 would create a "strategic initiatives grant program" to provide transportation funding to local governments.
Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?
House Bill 132 would amend Section 40-719, Idaho Code, to create a "strategic initiatives grant program" run by the Idaho Transportation Department. The bill would also establish a "strategic initiatives grant program fund" in the State Treasury.
The stated purpose for this expansion of government is "assisting local units of government to mitigate the impact of state highway projects on local roads or for economically significant local transportation projects that require the assistance of the Idaho transportation department to facilitate."
Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?
While transportation funding is not inherently objectionable, it should always focus on the most critical projects first.
House Bill 132 says, "Fifty percent (50%) of the funds appropriated to the strategic initiatives grant program described in this subsection shall be awarded to large urban areas that have a population greater than fifty thousand (50,000), and fifty percent (50%) of such funds shall be awarded to rural areas or to small urban areas with a population that is less than fifty thousand (50,000)."
Arbitrary restrictions and distribution requirements like this can lead to unnecessary spending increases. That is because transportation funding that is needed in one location may trigger a comparable amount of spending for less vital projects elsewhere.