“One thing I consistently hear about is our transportation system,” Gov. Brad Little told lawmakers. “In a growing state, we must move people and products as safely and efficiently as possible. The Association of Idaho Cities and Associated General Contractors are working on a study of Idaho’s transportation needs. After it’s complete, I’ll work closely with the Legislature and others to formulate a sustainable funding plan. In the meantime, I am recommending that we direct close to $100 million to maintain and improve the state’s highway system.”

No state general funds are included in that; the governor’s budget includes $99 million in dedicated and federal fund spending authority for highway construction projects that maintain and improve the state’s highway system. That's a 7.9% increase from what's being spent this year. He also wants a one-time boost of $1.8 million in dedicated funds for public airport improvements; funding for a new program manager to deal with drone systems; and establishing a state Broadband Office, as recommended by his Broadband Task Force. No additional funding was proposed for that new office; it’ll utilize existing resources at the state Department of Commerce.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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