Local Option Should be an Option

07-Jun-2010 In his State of the City Address, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, again voiced his support for the local option tax as a way to fund public transportation in the city – calling on the Idaho State Legislature to let the people decide.

CTAI agrees. Currently, Idaho is one of three states without a dedicated funding source for public transportation. The Public Transportation Subcommittee to the Governor’s Task Force on Modernizing Transportation Funding is delving into the current public transportation environment in Idaho and evaluating possible funding mechanisms. The report from the Governor’s Task Force on Modernizing Transportation Funding is due December 2010. As part of that report, CTAI hopes to see local option tax as one funding mechanism for public transportation in Idaho.

Idaho’s public transportation and mobility coordination and planning system, I-way, is built on a local to state model. Local communities are identifying their unique mobility needs, developing strategies around realizing those needs, and submitting their plans to their district and then the state level for funding recommendations. Providing mechanisms, such as the local option tax, for local communities to fund their strategies is a logical next step.

“There are a lot of things to consider when looking at funding for improving our public transportation and mobility options,” says Wheeler. “As the Subcommittee and Task Force are looking at funding mechanisms, we need them to consider urban areas and rural communities and provide options that will benefit both communities. “ The Public Transportation Subcommittee meets again on July 28th to learn more about the estimated costs of the public transportation unmet needs in Idaho.

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