LEWISTON – Two transportation bills were passed into law at the end of the recent Idaho Legislative session, giving the Idaho Transportation Department access to millions of dollars to invest in improving the state transportation system and funding pedestrian-safety improvements.
During the Idaho Transportation Board meeting Friday (April 21) in Lewiston, board members will be given a list of possible projects to fund through the newly authorized GARVEE (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle) bonds. These include four corridors with work left incomplete from the 2005-2014 GARVEE bonds.
The funding creates four revenue streams for transportation funding. First, they authorized ITD to borrow $300 million in GARVEE bonds. Next, they extended the “surplus eliminator” until 2019, with a 60/40 split among state and local transportation agencies. They also included 1 percent of sales tax and a portion of the cigarette tax going to a Congestion Mitigation Fund. This makes a total estimated funding of approximately $300 million.
This marks the second new road-funding package in recent years. In 2015, increases to the gas tax and registration fees allowed ITD to perform necessary maintenance on deteriorating infrastructure.
The new revenue from user fees has funded repairs on 60 projects across the state. All but a few of those projects were completed in just 18 months. The remaining few will finish this summer and fall.