Here's what's crazy: By my best reckoning Idaho is getting over $15 million it could have spent on public transportation statewide. It can only buy infrastructure with this money, nothing but buses, bus stops, material stuff like that. No drivers, no gas, no operating costs to pay drivers to make the buses go anywhere if we buy them.
At the same time the Speaker of the House (I'm sure with a bit of strategic help from Mike Moyle and his leadership team because Lawence Denny is the man, but he is not the arm twisting type) the Speaker has said no hearing on any local option authority legislation. No hearing to let voters in local communities around the state decide if they would like to tax themselves to fund something urgent that we as a state legislature just won't give them money for.
The most glaring example would be public transportation. No state dollars go there. No local funding source exists because local governments are not allowed to ask voters what they want to fund and how they want to fund it. The state dictates that. So since Mike Moyle, a single man from Star, elected to a powerful position by an increasingly conservative Republican caucus, since he is still not a fan of public transportation, the entire state has no way of funding public transportation operations.
So, no matter how long the people of Nampa wait in traffic, no matter how long it takes some days to get from Boise to Star or Eagle, if we have no money to operate a bus with fuel and a driver, we can not use the stimulus to solve the problem of Nampa to Boise buses running at capacity, or a bus system so poor it does not even run after dark, in early mornings or on weekends. Who can depend on a system like that? Who can afford to miss the bus to work or a job interview when the next one does not come for an hour or so?
So, instead of using the stimulus to allow little cities around Idaho to fund new van pools or real bus systems; instead of putting more buses on that corridor between Ada and Canyon counties we will instead replace old buses and then go on as we were, infinitely widening freeways and overpasses between Nampa and Boise. We will spend billions on that stretch of highway because a few powerful people don't personally like or believe in public transit. We will waste millions infinitely and futally trying to unclogg a clogged stretch of freeway, money that could be spent to fix rural roads from Soda Springs to Sandpoint.
I would think my rural colleagues would be more annoyed about that.