Wildlife overpasses and the Idaho Legislature

December 19, 2017 GMT

On July 1, 2015, the Idaho gas tax and vehicle registration fees were increased. The following is a quote from the Idaho State Journal in Pocatello: “—TRANSPORTATION: Lawmakers passed a $95 million transportation plan designed to help repair Idaho’s crumbling bridges and roads. This means vehicle-registration fees are going up $21 and Idaho residents will pay 7 cents more for gas. However, the new plan falls short of the $262 million funding shortfall the state has faced each year since 2010 to maintain upkeep on its transportation infrastructure.” The people of Idaho were told by the governor and the legislators that the increased taxes and fees would be used to repair our roads and bridges. Today the Idaho Transportation Department is considering spending millions and millions of our federal and state gas tax dollars on wildlife overpasses, underpasses and miles of very tall fences in ITD District 6, leaving less funding for the roads in the remainder of the state. Have the people of Idaho been misled, or is there a disconnect between ITD and the legislature? Unelected bureaucrats in ITD should not have the authority to spend millions of dollars in taxpayer money on new wildlife projects that have not been authorized by our legislature and governor. How could they even consider this expenditure when the maintenance backlog for roads and bridges is so profound across the state? The people of Idaho should call their legislators to rectify this potential travesty.

Ken Watts

Island Park