BOISE — A bill to transfer roughly $27.5 million from the state’s general fund to the Department of Transportation would help cover the cost of a number of road repair projects in the Magic Valley region.

The new bill is intended to make up for a drafting error in a 2017 bill. SB 1206, passed by lawmakers on the last day of the previous legislative session, would have split the $55 million year-end surplus between Idaho’s rainy day fund and road projects in the state.

The $27.5 million for road projects was supposed to go into a strategic initiatives fund, 60 percent of which would go to Idaho Transportation Department and 40 percent of which would go to local governments.

The transfer to the strategic initiatives fund never actually took place, however, due to a drafting error in the bill.

Last week, the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to restore the transfer, which was not included in Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s budget recommendation. Otter doesn’t approve of using the general fund for roads, his budget director said.

The transfer would provide funding to a number of projects in the Magic Valley region, including road repairs in Twin Falls and Burley, a bridge replacement in Glenns Ferry, and revitalization efforts in downtown Wendell.

Next, the supplemental appropriations bill will need to be passed by the House and Senate, and signed into law by the governor.

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