State Rep Gannon Speaks To ACHD Fee Hike

Idaho State Rep. John Gannon has weighed in on the Ada County Highway District proposed fee hike and he favors charging the commercial trucks and vehicles over 8,000 lbs. fees similar to those currently paid only by passenger cars, according to documents acquired in a public records request.

The GUARDIAN has railed against the unfair fee structure currently charged, and about to be increased, because only the “little guys” get charged. Anything over 8,000 lbs. is exempted by state law. While the state law is the “enabling legislation,” ACHD is the only district in the state to qualify to impose a surcharge on motorists.

Rep. Gannon has offered draft legislation which would allow ACHD to charge fees to the owners of the heavier vehicles and allow for some of the revenue to be used for a bus system. He proposes an ACHD county fee structure based upon 10% of the state registration fee with a $70 cap.

The ACHD commissioners meet at noon Wednesday, July 11 to consider a resolution to increase fees, but only on those under 8,000 lbs. In his letter to ACHD Chair Sara Baker, Gannon said the ACHD proposals would result in a 75% increase in collections. As an alternative, he suggests a two year sunset on the ACHD proposed resolution which will go to voters in November.

ACHD FEE PROPOSALS His entire letter and draft legislation package.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Concerned Neighbor
    Jul 10, 2018, 8:22 am

    Sounds good except for stealing money to fund buses. If they can’t be self supporting then they need to slim down. The roads they drive on are already subsidized.

  2. Nice work on this story, Dave. I predict that they will do whatever the hell they want to. And that is likely the original proposal.

    EDITOR NOTE–Thanks for the attaboy. I often feel like a voice in the wilderness.

  3. Concerned Neighbor, I’d rather subsidized with my tax dollars something that will help to reduce congestion rather than saddle the taxpayers with greater funding for roads. The only way to truly solve congestion is to help get cars off the road. The extra funding could be for items (bike lanes, BRT lanes). Providing multiple modes of transportation it’ll help all people in the valley deal with continued growth.

    The article in the daily paper provides some insight into the number of cars in the future.

  4. According to ACHD these are what the funds are to be used for
    “That those funds generated by the local vehicle registration fees will be
    used exclusively for:
    Capital projects, specifically those targeting the reduction of
    traffic congestion, such as improved signalization technology,
    i n t e r s e c t i o n i m p r o v e m e n t s a n d e n h a n c i n g m o b i l i t y
    Large-scale projects, such as the replacement of aging
    infrastructure and the improvement of key mobility corridors,
    such as Linder Road and State Street;
    Creation of new safe-routes-to-school, sidewalk and bicycle
    facilities within the Ada County Highway District’s jurisdiction.” Why would State rep John Gannon think it’s OK to appropriate funds for a bus system that already exists? Are he and Sara Baker helping Dave Bieter get the downtown streetcar?
    Maybe instead of increasing fees for vehicles ACHD needs to include bicycles to start paying fees for the roads THEY USE.

  5. Frank re: bicycle fees. The devils in the details for assessing bicycle fees. Would be interested in hearing your plan on how this would be implemented.

  6. Haste makes waste
    Jul 11, 2018, 8:24 am

    What is the wasteful tear up of the corner by Morris Hill cemetery? Wasn’t it painted for bikes, unpainted for bikes, repaved, restriped, and now ripped up. Wasteful.

    No additional amount of money will solve ACHD’s total disregard for the needs of the communities they serve. They are a puppet of developers, pawn good judgement off on their lawyers instead of the planners and experiential considerations of “maintenance”, leave the inner cities (boise especially) to deteriorate; and make excuses to get around fixing and keeping up the infrastructure.

    The commission sits at public meetings and that is about all. Vote against everything they beg for. Inefficient and ineffective. Victims of group-think in the nth degree. Afraid to make good decisions because they are just politicians wanting votes. They have not a bit of conviction to make the outcomes better.

  7. Interesting comments by readers! I feel compelled to respond to a couple of them.

    “If [buses] can’t be self supporting then they need to slim down.”

    There is not a public transit system ANYWHERE, that is not subsidized by taxpayers. The question is whether public transportation is worth the cost. If taxpayer-funded buses are running empty, it’s obviously a waste of money. If they are carrying lots of people that would otherwise be driving, or unable to get places… it may be worth the investment.

    “Maybe… ACHD needs to include bicycles to start paying fees for the roads THEY USE.”

    It’s a misconception that “bicycles” are getting a free ride.
    – A large percentage of ACHD’s budget comes from property taxes, which are paid directly or indirectly by everybody who owns or rents a domicile in the county.
    – Many bicyclists also own a motor vehicle that they pay to register. (I buy stickers for 3 motor vehicles, registered in Ada County, even though I haven’t driven to work for 20+ years.)
    – If I’m not paying my fair share, please show me how to fairly squeeze a little more from me, based on my use of our roadways. I want to do my share! (And I won’t quibble about a few bucks for public transportation as well, if it’s working.)

    “Wasn’t [the corner by Morris Hill Cemetery] painted for bikes, unpainted for bikes, repaved, restriped, and now ripped up. Wasteful.”

    In the 29 years I’ve been bicycling through that intersection, at least 5 days a week, it’s never been “painted for bikes.” Evidently the current work is part of an Emerald Street widening project, to accommodate more traffic (and bike lanes). I believe ACHD’s motivation is to accommodate more traffic – isn’t that what they should be doing? (I’ve bicycled that stretch of Emerald for years, without feeling discomfort. But casual cyclists and kids might be able to use it going forward… and maybe they’ll leave their car in the garage!)

    As I commented below the Statesman article cited by Tucker, “ACHD won’t be able to lay enough asphalt to mitigate the problem. There’s plenty of historical evidence that traffic will expand to fill the available space. (If I’m wrong, give me an example of an urban area that has solved its traffic problems by adding more traffic lanes.)” But – it’s easy to blame them for not keeping pace.

    I’d encourage ALL Guardian readers to consider LOCAL bicycle transportation. It’s pretty easy, at least for 8 or 9 months of the year… and you will be AMAZED at how much money and aggravation you’ll save! And, leaving your car at home will result in less traffic congestion.

    ON TOPIC – I like Gannon’s proposal. And I agree with the Guardian, that any new spending plan needs to have a sunset clause.

    (Thanks for allowing me to wax verbose. Keep up the great work, Mr. Guardian.)

  8. We all will have a chance to vote in November on this new fee. About 15 people spoke either against this proposal or to amend to dictate a percentage that will go toward community programs like Safe Routes to School and bike infrastructure. This was done with the ballot measure that passed in 2008.

    The resolution passed 3-2 with Goldthorpe and Hansen voting against this. Arnold, Baker and Woods said they support community programs, but were unwilling to support placing a specific percentage on the ballot. The vote shows that the commissioners are spilt on the topic of community programs. Hansen is generally against the placing this on the ballot until more community members had been asked about the language including ACHD advisory committees( Pedestrian, ADA, Bikes and Business).

  9. Big no vote in November. Until the ACHD learns to tighten their belts as well as provide better oversight on their contractors under control will vote no on anything they float.

    Just one example: Four times a day I drive by the fiasco to rebuild Emerald and American based on false data regarding pedestrian and bicycle traffic, only to watch the contractor’s employees standing around in groups of 3 or 4 BS’ing instead of working – and I get to help fund it…

  10. I apologize for the incoherent writing, I meant to say that ACHD needs to provide better oversight or control over the contractors they use. I see the same logo on the trucks at many of the ACHD projects – once you are the contractor of choice you don’t have to work hard. Might be time for the contractors to have to re-compete for ACHD’s business.

  11. Bob, I can agree with you on ACHD oversight and lack of effeciencies.

    But what false data was used for the Americana/Emerald project? I participated in the volunteer bike counts at this intersection for 3+ years and this is only part of the information that ACHD used in making the decision to proceed with this project. I can assure you that I did not pad the bike counts that I conducted.

    Road diets often can help traffic by creating a turn lane in the center, so a left turning car does not stop traffic behind them. Emerald daily vehicle trips are 11-13,000.

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