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Sponsor Of Idaho Gas Tax Hike Says It's An 'Ugly Plan' Meant To Start Talks

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File photo of the Idaho State Capitol in Boise.

Republican lawmakers in Idaho said there’s still a long road ahead to agreeing on a plan to fix roads and bridges.

But they said a trial balloon sent up this week has succeeded in starting the conversation among normally tax-averse politicians.

On Monday, the House Transportation and Defense transportation committee introduced a proposal to raise the gas tax by 8 cents per gallon and diesel by 12 cents per gallon. Thereafter, those taxes would automatically rise by a penny a year.

Committee chair Joe Palmer sponsored the package.

“You’ve all seen me stand up in front of the committee and pitch a pretty ugly plan,” he said. “The reason there is to get everybody to the table. And this is the first time in the seven years I’ve been here that everyone is coming out of the woodwork and everybody’s saying ‘Well, OK, let’s look at this.’”

Idaho’s gas tax hasn’t budged since 1996, when it was set at 25 cents per gallon.

In Washington state, a plan to raise the gas tax by 11.7 cents over three years is also moving through the legislature. It has strong Republican backing.Washington’s current gas tax is 37.5 cents per gallon.