House panel passes bill to limit 'Connecting Idaho' roads plan

Boise, ID


By Gina Jameson


BOISE, Idaho (AP) _ Idaho's $1 billion ``Connecting Idaho''
roads project would be scaled back by more than a third by a bill
passed Thursday by the House Transportation Committee.

The measure, sponsored by Connecting Idaho critic Leon Smith, a
Twin Falls Republican, aims to limit debt payments on bonds at just
20 percent of annual federal highway funding, down from 30 percent

Since 2006, $446 million in highway bonds have been approved,
with $134 million proposed for fiscal year 2009.

But Rep. Scott Bedke, an Oakley Republican who opposed Smith's
measure, says it would forbid Idaho from selling bonds beyond
fiscal year 2010.

If it passes the full House, the bill faces opposition in the
Senate Transportation Committee.

Its chairman, Caldwell Republican John McGee, is a Connecting
Idaho advocate.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
APNP-03-06-08 1711MST<

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