Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Idaho House Committee Votes To Move Parking Flap Bill To Full House

Posted By on Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 10:19 AM

One of the last pieces of business before the Idaho House State Affairs Committee was one of the more controversial measures of the 2013 Idaho Legislature: an overreach of the state to bypass City of Boise rules surrounding a planned parking garage.

The State of Idaho has already sold bonds to fund a proposed $8 million garage near the Capitol,

"There are over 2,300 state employees and a little over 1,200 parking spaces currently available," Jeff Youtz, Legislative Services Director told the committee this morning. "This garage will create about 600 spaces. But we're on a pretty strict and disciplined timeline to begin paying back the bonds."

The City of Boise's Design Review Committee has already given the proposed garage the once-over and made several suggested changes.

"We met as recently as yesterday on design issues," said Youtz. "We feel it's all going to work out fine."

But the City Council, which gets the final say in the matter, won't decide on the fate of the project until Tuesday, April 19.

"And if they reject the design, we would not be able to come back to the legislature," said Youtz, referring to this week's proposed sine die.

Simply put, Youtz wants lawmakers to push through the project, even if the City of Boise still has issues.

"We need a fall-back in case this goes south," he said.

But Boise legislators on the committee weren't thrilled with the idea.

"Why should a government, with the exception of a time of war, ever be exempt from the local process?" asked Boise Democratic Rep. John Gannon.

Boise Democratic Holli High-Woodings agreed, saying, "I feel this has become an emergency to put us in a bad position that shows the wrong message to our constituents."

Even Dalton Gardens Republican Rep. Vito Barbieri said he was in the "unusual position of being on the wrong side" of his own party's leadership.

"I think it's bad form to require everyone else to go through the process and somehow the imperial government doesn't have to," said Barbieri. "Good or not, the process is there."

But Barbieri was the lone Republican to join four Democrats in voting against the measure, with 11 Republican Representatives voting aye, sending the bill to the full House for its consideration.

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