Paying for new and better roads has bedeviled Idaho governors for a century.
In 1911, Gov. James Hawley called Idaho roads "a disgrace to the State" and urged the Legislature to "devise a proper system that will cure this evil and put us in line with the other advanced States of the Union." Only after he left office did legislators create the first highway commission.
In 2009, Gov. Butch Otter pleaded for legislators to raise road taxes to keep Idaho travelers safe. "Would any of us truly be unwilling to pay a few extra dollars for that peace of mind, even in the toughest of times?" he asked. "Aren't our loved ones worth it?"
Otter has devoted his governorship to trying to win over lawmakers. His latest gambit is a task force — which won't even report back until after the 2010 election. The governor and his task force face a daunting challenge: A recession, broken promises and leadership problems have led to a breakdown at the transportation department and a loss of confidence in the state's road-builders
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