The streak of irrational thought continues in the Idaho Legislature. This week the Revenue and Taxation committee cemented their desire for our state to continue to spiral toward collapse by voting down HB246 which would have provided local transit authorities (defined by state law) to ask local residents if they would like to fund public transportation. The resulting vote continues to tie the hands of the treasure valley (the name for the Boise/Nampa/Caldwell metro area) by providing no state funding for transit and preventing a local option as a funding source. The result - Idaho, 47th out of the 50 states for public transit per capita, will further slide in transit services. We remain one of only 4 states that prevent local option funding and provide no state funding (Mississippi, Alaska, and Hawaii are the others). Complicating the funding is that our metro area is now large enough that we no longer qualify for federal funds for operations, thus service levels not counting inflation will likely decrease by 25%.
The plan required a 2/3 majority vote of the citizens of the transit district to invoke and had a number of other protection clauses. In the end, the legislature refused to allow the voters of the Treasure Valley to vote on the issue. Democracy denied!