Transportation

Doug Kerr / Flickr Creative Commons

House Republicans are introducing an eleventh-hour patchwork plan to raise more than $100 million for Idaho roads.

The House Ways and Means Committee introduced two of the three parts Wednesday morning — including registration fee hikes and up to $26 million in general fund dollars.

The proposal is similar to legislation killed by the House Transportation Committee last week.

But House Majority Leader Mike Moyle says that he hopes breaking the plan up into three pieces will let lawmakers approve at least some of the parts.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho House committee has killed a Republican legislative leader's multi-faceted plan to tackle the state's growing transportation funding shortfall.

The House Transportation and Defense Committee voted 14-2 on Friday to block the proposal.

The bill would have raised $135 million by raising fuel taxes and registration rates, —roughly half of the state's $262 million annual transportation deficit.

Courtesy: Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce

Alaska Airlines announced Wednesday it's adding a direct flight from Boise to Spokane beginning in August.

Southwest Airlines already operates a Boise to Spokane flight.

Alaska's President and CEO Brad Tilden made the announcement during a Boise Chamber of Commerce event. Tilden says Alaska will add two direct flights each day from Boise to Spokane on a 76-seat Bombardier Q400 plane.

A group of Republican lawmakers in Idaho is offering a plan they say could raise up to $81 million for road and bridge repairs by next year.

Albert Lynn / Flickr Creative Commons

Two House Republicans say they have a last-minute proposal to raise $70 million to $100 million per year in new transportation funding.

The House Transportation and Defense Committee is slated to consider the eleventh-hour proposal Tuesday. The plan would draw from overall tax revenue growth and a temporary five-cent fuel tax increase to tackle the state's $262 million annual transportation shortfall.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Two months into Idaho’s legislative session, many of the priorities lawmakers set at the beginning of the year haven’t been touched. Legislative leaders say things like road and bridge funding and a tax overhaul may have to wait until next year.

At an event organized by the Idaho Press Club Wednesday, Speaker of the House Scott Bedke said he’s optimistic the session can end by March 27. That’s despite the fact that a highly-anticipated bill to give teachers a raise was introduced Wednesday and a comprehensive plan to pay for fixing Idaho’s roads and bridges hasn’t yet surfaced.

A panel in the Idaho House agreed to introduce legislation Thursday that would define ride-sharing services like Uber in state law -- and trump local efforts to regulate them.

Uber app

Ridesharing company Uber has suspended operations in Boise.

The company in a three-page letter to city leaders on Thursday says it became clear at a city council work session on Tuesday that the city plans to impose unworkable and onerous regulations. Uber spokesperson Michael Amodeo says the company does vehicle inspections and background checks on drivers.

“We think additional background checks would just place an additional hurdle or barrier to entry for our drivers that would make it more difficult for them to earn a living with the Uber platform," says Amodeo.

Kurt Wilson / Missoulian

Missoula, Mont.-based Neptune Aviation is considering launching a private charter service for direct flights to Boise, Seattle and Billings.

Neptune is known for its firefighting airplanes.

This week, Neptune’s CEO Ron Hooper outlined his idea to launch roundtrip flights from Missoula to Billings and Boise twice a week.

Marcel Pacatte

Boise City Council members had three hours of questions this afternoon about how ride-sharing platform Uber would work – and be regulated by the city.  In the end, the council voted unanimously to have an ordinance drafted for a public hearing by the end of next month.

Allegiant Air

Low-cost airline Allegiant announced Tuesday morning it will offer a nonstop flight from Boise to Los Angeles beginning June 5.

Allegiant already operates direct flights from Boise to Las Vegas.

The airline's new Boise to LA flight will be offered twice each week, with one-way fares starting at $43.

GoSheShe / Flickr Creative Commons

Republican lawmakers in Idaho said there’s still a long road ahead to agreeing on a plan to fix roads and bridges.

But they said a trial balloon sent up this week has succeeded in starting the conversation among normally tax-averse politicians.

On Monday, the House Transportation and Defense transportation committee introduced a proposal to raise the gas tax by 8 cents per gallon and diesel by 12 cents per gallon. Thereafter, those taxes would automatically rise by a penny a year.

Committee chair Joe Palmer sponsored the package.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

According to the Idaho Supreme Court, an apparent error in Idaho’s legal code could make certain highway speed limits unenforceable.

The judges are asking lawmakers to fix the problem after some speeding tickets were tossed out.

On most Idaho highways, the speed limit is 65. Idaho’s law recognizes that. But in some places, the state has decided to lower the speed limit to 55, say, or 45.

It turns out that Idaho law still says the speed limit is 65.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

On Monday, a panel of Idaho lawmakers said the time has come to boost the gas tax to fix roads and bridges that are in disrepair. Father and son truckers Cliff and Rusty Irish have seen the problem first hand.

The Irishes are based in Sagle, Idaho, about 60 miles from the Canadian border. They can rack up as many as 90,000 miles a year transporting logs and equipment across north Idaho. 

Uber
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise City Council Tuesday put off a decision on whether to allow ride-sharing service Uber to operate, saying tweaks were needed to the agreement before allowing the service to become permanent and charge customers.

The council's inaction means Uber can still operate in Boise, but it can't charge passengers.

The council will again take up the matter Feb 24.

twitter.com

There’s been another potential bump in the road in the relationship between the City of Boise and app-based car service Uber.

After a row with the city a month ago, Uber agreed not to charge in Boise until the two sides settled on a long term operating agreement.

But some Boiseans took to Twitter over the weekend to complain about being unexpectedly charged for Uber rides.

The steep drop in oil prices is helping to pad the bottom line of Seattle-based Alaska Airlines. But don't expect lower fares on the horizon.

Predicting what lawmakers will focus on during the Idaho legislative session is a bit of a gamble. But after eight terms in office, Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, has a good idea of the Legislature's priorities -- after all, he has a big influence in shaping that agenda. Hill, who is the President Pro-Tem of the Senate, points to education and gay rights issues as topics  front and center for lawmakers this year.

Uber
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The city of Boise has issued a cease-and-desist order to Uber, the app-based car service company. City officials say Uber is violating an agreement not to charge passengers until the city gives it the go ahead.

Uber has been operating in Boise since October under a temporary agreement with the city. Boise and Uber were in negotiations for a permanent contract.

A coalition in Oregon and the Democratic governor of Washington want to juice sales of electric cars by providing more state incentives.

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