Lawmakers pass $497M budget for Idaho roads agency - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Lawmakers pass $497M budget for Idaho roads agency

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    BOISE, Idaho. - Idaho Transportation Department officials are warning a state task force that Idaho is now short $211 million a year from what it needs to maintain its roads and bridges in their current condition.>>
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    their current condition.
    >>

BOISE, Idaho. - The Idaho Transportation Department will get about $497 million for fiscal year 2011, according to its budget passed by the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.
     
That's down from well over $600 million last year, which included hundreds of millions from the federal stimulus package for construction projects.
     
Budget writers Friday also backed $12 million in bonding authority for the "Connecting Idaho" roads program, bringing its total over the last five years to nearly $700 million.
     
That resulted in a narrow 12-8 vote, however, with Republican lawmakers from eastern Idaho panning the plan to go more deeply into debt while the economy is weak.
     
Rep. Wendy Jaquet, a Ketchum Democrat, countered, "Interest rates are low now, we should really try to maximize this opportunity for the state."
     
The House and Senate still must back this budget.

Transportation agency spends $70,000 on ceremonies

(February 1, 2010)

he Idaho Transportation Department has spent nearly $70,000 on groundbreaking ceremonies since June to help the governor and other leaders mark the start of new highway projects around the state.
     
The price tag has rattled some state lawmakers who say the agency must become more efficient.
     
The Idaho Statesman reports a single ceremony planned by a private company celebrating the Vista Road interchange project in Boise cost more than $24,000. But four other events planned in-house totaled $10,000.

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