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Idaho Lawmakers Approve Gas Tax Increase, Adjourn Session

Kristen Steele

Idaho’s gas tax is set to go up 7 cents per gallon under a bill now awaiting the governor’s signature.

It was a last-minute compromise before this year’s legislative session ended in the early morning hours on Saturday.

The measure promises to raise around $95 million a year for Idaho roads and bridges. But many lawmakers left unsatisfied.

Republican Sen. Marv Hagedorn said 7 cents per gallon would only scratch the surface of what Idaho needs to maintain its highways. He urged lawmakers to craft a more ambitious plan.

“It’s going to be hard,” Hagedorn said. “Citizens are going to not like us because we have to raise taxes to pay for something we all invested in. But we have to do it. We don’t have to like it. We have to do it.”

He said delaying repairs now will cost the state much more down the line.

But fellow Republicans who crafted the plan said it at least makes progress toward addressing the maintenance backlog.

Idaho lawmakers had considered a 10 cent per gallon hike. Another feature of the plan that passed: vehicle registration fees will go up.

Copyright 2015 Northwest News Network

Jessica Robinson
Jessica Robinson reported for four years from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho as the network's Inland Northwest Correspondent. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covered the economic, demographic and environmental trends that have shaped places east of the Cascades. Jessica left the Northwest News Network in 2015 for a move to Norway.