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“Still at a funding crisis in transportation”

Probably shouldn’t have been a big surprise, but the reports indicate that the core transportation strategic planners – mainly out of the office of Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter – really were thrown by the House rejection today of his proposed gas tax increase. Evidently, a number of House members were surprised too.

The debate was fairly closely split between the two sides but the vote wasn’t close, at 27-43, with Democrats making some of the strongest anti-tax arguments. (Ponder that a moment: small-l libertarian Otter pushing a tax increase that the Democrats said was unaffordable.) Republican leadership couldn’t push it through.

Representative Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, was quoted as saying, “I’ll continue to work with the governor’s office to see if there’s another proposal that would be acceptable, because the problem is not going to go away.” It isn’t. But keep watch and see if, in the days ahead, there are attempts to re-frame it – maybe as indicating that road spending, apart from what’s already being paid for, is something that might be shifted toward the back burner.

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