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House Bill 263 — Single countywide highway districts

House Bill 263 — Single countywide highway districts

Parrish Miller
March 6, 2023

Bill Description: House Bill 263 would increase the number of highway districts in each large county from five to seven, with an accompanying increase in the number of commissioners. 

Rating: +1

Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency, accountability, or election integrity? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency, accountability, or election integrity?

House Bill 263 would repeal and replace Section 40-1404A, Idaho Code, which deals with "countywide highway districts located in a county with a population of more than" 200,000. Currently, only two counties in Idaho meet the threshold (Ada and Canyon), and only one (Ada) has a countywide highway district. 

Under existing law, the Ada County Highway District (ACHD) is divided into five subdistricts, each represented by an elected commissioner. 

House Bill 263 would reorganize ACHD into seven subdistricts that would "be formed, to the maximum extent possible, such that the incorporated cities within a county shall each be contained within a unique subdistrict that contains no portion of another incorporated city." The subdistricts would have to have equal population, with a 10% variance allowed. Larger cities such as Boise and Meridian would still be divided among subdistricts. 

Moving to more districts and requiring that smaller cities be better represented could make ACHD more responsive to the needs of all county residents and less dominated by advocates for the county's largest cities.


Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

ACHD commissioners are paid a base salary of $1,200 per month, plus certain benefits and expenses. Adding two commissioners would result in some increased costs, but they would be negligible relative to the commission's $185 million budget. Moreover, reasonable salary costs for elected officials are not inherently objectionable. 


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