House Transportation and Defense Committee Chairman Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, introduced a bill Monday to shut down parking meters around the Capitol during the legislative session. Palmer told members of his committee that he believes shuttering the meters would aid residents who want to testify at legislative hearings.
“I think we’ll get a lot more support for this than you would normally think,” Palmer said of his bill.
The bill was introduced with a lone dissenting vote from Rep. Leon Smith, R-Twin Falls. Smith told Palmer that his city tried removing meters in its downtown area to promote economic growth, but that it flopped when people used spaces for long-term parking. “The first person in the morning would get there and be there all day,” Smith said.
Palmer said there would be no way to stop people from doing that, but that his measure is ultimately good for the public. “I don’t think there’s any way of completely solving that problem,” Palmer said. “We will have people abuse it off and on, but I think the greater good is being served here.”
If the bill makes it into law and it doesn’t work, Palmer says he would be willing to tweak the idea or remove it altogether.
Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, suggested the state create two-hour parking spots around the Capitol instead of simply deactivating meters.
The measure will receive a formal hearing in the next few days. Palmer said he hasn’t discussed the idea with Boise city, which administers parking meters.
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