Foothills Bill to Bush 

Foothills Bill to Bush

It's not the bill many expected out of the so-called "lame duck" Congress, but Boise conservationists are celebrating all the same. Earlier this week U.S. Sen. Larry Craig and U.S. Rep. C.L. "Butch" Otter--the guy we'll call "governor" in a few months--reported that a bill authorizing a complicated set of land swaps in the Boise Foothills is headed to President Bush's desk for a signature.

The Idaho Land Enhancement Act, co-sponsored by Craig and Otter, resulted from the 2001 approval of a tax to pay for securing open space in the Boise Foothills. The bill enables the City of Boise to work with the State of Idaho and federal land management agencies to set aside additional Foothills open space while consolidating public land holdings in North Idaho.

"The bottom line is that some scattered parcels of federal land will be easier to manage, Idaho's State Endowment Fund will get some valuable timberland to benefit our schoolchildren, and the people of Boise will be able to keep enjoying one of the signature elements of the city's quality of life," Otter said in a prepared statement.

Craig was more direct: "This just plain makes sense. It represents a collaborative effort at conservation that will be law shortly." The bill's passage got quick praise from Mayor Dave Bieter as well, who was heavily involved in the 2001 levy passage.

Hybrids to get space?

City Council President Maryanne Jordan likes the direction the city has taken to accommodate alternative forms of travel downtown, and now she's pondering further steps.

Jordan has asked city staff to look into the possibility of giving some form of break on parking rates for hybrid cars or other fuel-efficient cars.

"I don't think it makes the biggest difference in the world, but it's a small thing we can do," Jordan said. "We're going to look into it."

The idea came from a Newsweek article, Jordan said, which reported last month that L.A., Salt Lake City, Albuquerque and New Haven all offer free parking for "green" cars.

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