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Still charging lightweights

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Despite claims that Idaho law prevented Ada County Highway District from charging fees on vehicles in excess of 8,000 lbs., the GUARDIAN learned Monday ACHD has dropped all efforts to seek legislation that would correct the omission of heavyweights.
Senate majority leader Chuck Winder told the GUARDIAN, “ACHD told us they have no plans to charge fees on the heavier vehicles and they have made no effort to seek any legislation.”

When voters learned that rigs above 8,000lbs. were exempt from the current law that has remained in effect, they soundly defeated a proposed 70% fee hike.

The existing ACHD fee structure and exemption for heavyweights can only be removed by voters. Since its unlikely the ACHD board will repeal the current fees, it looks like a referendum may be the only recourse for citizens to seek equity with the damaging big rigs.

If enough signatures are gathered, the repeal could be on the ballot. ACHD in November had publicly claimed they would seek legislation to correct the unfair nature of the law, but urged people to vote in favor of the fee hike anyway.

A source close to ACHD also confirmed Winder’s statement. We even talked to a representative at one of the largest heavyweight fleets in the county who told us the company has a policy of “paying their fair share,” and they would support legislation to allow ACHD to charge the vehicles over 8,000lbs.

UPDATE 5:30p.m. 1-28-19

Here is text of a memo from ACHD Attorney Steven Price to Rep. John Gannon which says ACHD board has supported a fee on trucks, contrary to what Sen. Winder was told by someone else.

“As I indicated this morning, ACHD is very supportive this legislation. I will review the your proposed bill with the Director and the Commission at the Commission’s next meeting. The Commission has been very supportive of a Vehicle Registration Fee for trucks over 8000 lbs.”

EDITOR NOTE–This story has been very difficult to report. We have several versions/conclusions from reliable sources. It appears there is a fair amount of maneuvering between county staff, state staff, elected officials, and trucking industry. We MAY see a bill proposing a flat fee of $75 on trucks being proposed. Even though it is a state issue, only ACHD is affected.
 

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