Don't expect to see high occupancy vehicle lanes in the Treasure Valley anytime soon. While tens of thousands of commuters face I-84 each morning and afternoon, a proposal that would allow most Idaho communities to introduce HOV lanes got stuck in a legislative traffic jam this afternoon.
The House Transportation and Defense Committee voted 10-5 to kill a bill by Boise Democrat Phyllis King to expand Idaho's ability to build HOV lanes. Currently a 2009 law allows only counties with populations of 25,000 or less to introduce HOV lanes for carpoolers and buses. King told Citydesk that she crafted her measure after hearing from her Boise constituents on a need for HOVs.
Meridian Republican Marv Hagedorn led the charge against King's motion.
"I think we're opening up a door that we don't want open," said Hagedorn with his no vote.
But Moscow Democrat Shirley Ringo countered with her experience in other cities.
"HOVs work very well in Seattle," said Ringo. "It incentivizes carpooling."
But Republican Bob Nonini of Coeur d'Alene disagreed.
"Comparing Seattle to Boise to comparing apples to oranges," said Nonini. "We should hold this bill."
And so they did, in effect killing the measure. Republicans Leon Smith of Twin Falls and Richard Wills of Glenns Ferry joined the committee's three democrats in a losing effort.