Idaho toll road legislation killed in committee

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Idaho already has the authority to set up state toll roads, thanks to a long-unused state law – but one lawmaker’s attempt to expand that right to local highway districts has failed, the Spokesman Review reported.

SB 1360, introduced by Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, would have allowed a highway district to identify a highway situation that was urgent enough where a toll road would be “an appropriate way to recoup the cost,” Corder said. But the Senate Transportation Committee killed the bill Tuesday, Feb. 12.

“I want to recognize that there is some real merit to further discussion on this issue,” said Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls. But Hammond voted against the bill, as did all members of the committee except for Corder and Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, according to the Spokesman Review.

Lobbyist Skip Smyser, speaking for the Idaho Trucking Association, testified against the bill. “This is a substantial departure from existing practice in the state of Idaho, and I think it needs more scrutiny,” Smyser told the panel.

Existing law grants “turnpike” authority to the state to create toll roads and collect tolls. That law’s never been used, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.