Idaho State Police (ISP) is looking to increase fees on commercial vehicles that carry hazardous material (hazmat) endorsement. Capt. Lamont Johnson of the ISP testified Tuesday testify before the House Transportation and Defense Committee about the agency’s need for additional funding.
The hazmat fee was introduced in 1970 and hasn’t been increased since its inception, said Johnson. For commercial hazmat vehicles, the fee is $3 if purchased at the time of vehicle registration and $5 if purchased at a port of entry. The department is looking increase the amount to a flat rate of $10.
If approved, the measure could generate as much as $605,000, which would be used to fund the entire operation of ISP’s hazmat division, put all five officers on the same revenue source, and pay for “capital outlay,” such as the purchase of ISP vehicles and equipment. Currently, the salaries and benefits of two of the division’s five hazmat-trained officers are paid for by the fee structure already in place. The salary and benefits of the other three officers are paid out of ISP’s operating budget.
Approximately $70,000 of the money would be directed to the Idaho Department of Education to fund hazmat training programs.
Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, said he was skeptical of the proposal because he “just doesn’t like fee increases.” In an interview with IdahoReporter.com following the hearing, Palmer said he is open to the fee hike only if the department shows the committee exactly where the money will be directed.
“Right now their numbers don’t add up,” Palmer said. Johnson said he planned to bring a complete breakdown of the proposed fee allocation structure when he returned to the committee for the bill’s full hearing.
The committee voted unanimously to introduce the legislation and will hear testimony on the plan sometime next week.
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