Police and parks may receive millions of dollars in funding from Idaho’s gas tax for another year. Idaho lawmakers are set to delay a law passed last year that would remove funding from the state’s gas tax intended for use by the Idaho State Police (ISP) and Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR). The House approved the delay 67-0 Feb. 18. The Senate Transportation Committee approved the measure Thursday.
“You may recall that transportation was a little bit of an issue last session,” said Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert. Transportation funding was one of the reasons for last year’s long session in Boise. Lawmakers approved a plan to remove ISP and IDPR from the gas tax, which would shift $20 million to highway construction. Cameron was part of a task force of lawmakers charged with finding alternate funding sources for police and parks. For now, that task force agreed that the two state agencies should keep receiving money from the gas tax. “We hope when we find additional funding for transportation, we can tag on and find additional funding for Idaho State Police,” Cameron said. The task force recommended reinstating gas tax funding for state parks permanently.
“I thought this was such a poor idea last year, so that’s why I’m glad it disappeared,” said Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, in support of the delay.
Senate Transportation Committee chair John McGee, R-Caldwell, said lawmakers can’t put off finding more money for roads for much longer. “I believe that the Legislature is going to have to face this issue again, and face it in the near future,” he said.