After receiving several comments about the ballot language on the Ada County Highway District fee hike for auto registrations, we revisited the issue and learned some disturbing, but not surprising facts.
About 16,500 trucks weighing over 8,000 pounds get a FREE RIDE on county roads. Meanwhile owners of 279, 454 passenger car owners have to pony up fees as high as $40 per vehicle for ACHD “projects,” as a result of the ballot measure passed (unwittingly?) by voters Tuesday.
Since heavier, wider vehicles cause more damage to road surfaces and signs than passenger cars, we asked officials at ACHD for an explanation.
Turns out they had a committee meet to offer “input” on what the new law would be.
Surprise, surprise! The group was stacked full of folks who would benefit from EXEMPTING TRUCKS from being taxed. An ACHD official quietly admitted none of the 30 committee members were opposed to the proposal which doubled county auto taxes.
It is a simple fact that passenger car owners are subsidizing the roads for all those delivery trucks, dump trucks, and farm vehicles that use them to make a profit. The GUARDIAN is of the opinion ALL users would pay county taxes at the same rate. We are also hard pressed to offer much complaint because the people were allowed to vote and 68% said YES.
ACHD claims the trucks pay fees to the State of Idaho which returns a portion to the counties. Big deal! Same is true for State of Idaho passenger car fees. Only difference is the little guys have to pay BOTH state and county fees.
Folks representing Chambers of Commerce in Boise, Meridian, and Eagle, developers, Commerce and Industry Association reps, contractors, Smart Growth Developers, pro growth CCDC-Boise City officials, realtors and others rounded out the citizen’s panel.
In what had to match the B-1 bomber for stealthiness, the language was placed on the ballot–we were told without formal approval of the ACHD board. Even ACHD insiders were shocked at the success they had at the polls.
In the original post before the election, we were wrong about the old fee rates being omitted. The old maximum county fee of $20 was indeed posted at the beginning of the ballot.
Also, we were informed by the ACHD spokesman Friday that the commishes did indeed formally approve the ballot. The guy who gave us the erroneous info was on vacation at the time it was approved.
David Goldman said this in the Daily Paper October 29 and wanted to share his warning in retrospect:
“ACHD commissioners have proposed an increase in vehicle registration fees, but they apparently want it to be a surprise on Election Day. Apart from a Statesman article on July 25, there has been little other information or public discussion. After seeing the proposal for the first time on my absentee ballot I understand why it’s a surprise – it’s shamefully simplistic.
There are three critical flaws. First, it sets fixed dollar amounts over 20 years, which guarantees that it will be too steep an increase initially and surely be too little money by 2029. Second, it groups vehicles under 8,000 pounds, but 8,000-pound vehicles damage the roads more than 2,000-pound vehicles. More egregiously, there is no reference to vehicles over 8,000 pounds, which cause road damage as well. Finally, it provides no incentives for hybrid or electric vehicles; it refers to children safely walking to school but fails to encourage the reduction of pollution those same children are forced to breathe.We deserve better legislation than this. Send a message to the commissioners to be more professional, or at least competent, by voting NO.”
See the BALLOT HERE.
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