BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) – Governor Brad Little on Thursday signed into law part of his “Leading Idaho” plan, providing hundreds of millions of dollars in new transportation funding to eliminate a third of the bridge maintenance backlog in Idaho.
Senate Bill 1359 includes $200 million for local bridges, $6 million for air, $8 million for rail, $18 million to pay off Garvee projects debt, $10 million for safe crosswalks and $10 million to build a road at the Port of Lewiston.
“We are taking advantage of a unique opportunity to fully fund known transportation needs – to maintain our roads and bridges continuously – without new taxes. Last year, we passed together the largest transportation funding package in state history, and we did it without raising taxes. But we didn’t stop there. We cannot continue our record economic trajectory if our logging trucks cannot cross old bridges or if we cannot get our agricultural products to market. This bill invests an additional $200 million in one-time funding to eliminate one-third of the backlog of deficient bridges, and we are one step closer to an additional $200 million in ongoing funding to fully meet our maintenance needs known locally and statewide,” Governor Little mentioned.
Governor Little said he recognizes the state’s strong partnership with local governments, including cities, counties and highway districts, who supported the bill.
He also thanked his legislative partners and the team and the Idaho Department of Transportation for their leadership in getting the bill through the finish line.
Governor Little is expected to sign another transportation funding bill in the coming days, which will include $200 million for road maintenance.
“I don’t want to put the safety of Idahoans and the maintenance of our state’s roads and bridges at the whim of the federal government. We should not look to Washington, DC to solve our problems. Leading Idaho means serving the needs of our own state. Together, we will show Washington, DC how to tackle transportation by fully funding known shortfalls with no new taxes and providing long-term funding for long-term needs,” Governor Little said.