Each year Idaho’s cities, counties, and highway districts levy about $150 million in property taxes for maintenance of roads and bridges. Increasing state revenue for local roads and bridges is one way state policymakers could reduce local government reliance on property taxes and provide property tax relief to Idaho businesses and homeowners.

Local highway jurisdictions have greatly benefited from recent increased state aid for local roads and bridges. House Bill 308, sponsored by Governor Little and passed by the Legislature, made a one-time transfer of $47.2 million from the state general fund to cities, counties, and highway districts to meet local transportation needs. House Bill 362 is another important bill passed by the legislature. It allocates state sales tax revenue for state and local transportation needs, with ITD guaranteed $80 million annually for the state highway system and revenue in excess of $80 million allocated to cities, counties, and highway districts for projects on the local highway system. Beginning this year, House Bill 362 is estimated to provide $20 million in ongoing new local highway funding. As state sales tax collections grow, so will the amount of funds provided to local highway jurisdictions for local road and bridge projects.

Local governments are grateful for state aid dedicated to Idaho roads and highways. In order for local governments to keep up with ongoing highway maintenance, it is critical for the legislature to continue investing in Idaho’s local roads and bridges. Idahoans rely on local road and bridge infrastructure for travel, commerce, and recreation. Providing ongoing state aid to cities, counties, and highway districts not only keeps local roads and bridges open and safe, but also provides ongoing property tax relief to homeowners.