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HOUSE URGED TO BACK I-15 BILL WITHOUT PAYMENT GUARANTEE

SHARE HOUSE URGED TO BACK I-15 BILL WITHOUT PAYMENT GUARANTEE

"I know some of you think you are buying a pig in a poke," said Rep. Stephen Bodily, R-Lewiston, in urging House members Monday to vote for a bill authorizing the "design/build" fast-track I-15 reconstruction.

"But we will have a revenue stream to pay for it."House members hope so. For Bodily and Gov. Mike Leavitt are asking legislators to approve $1 billion of work with no guaranteed financial plan.

"I have to oppose this," said Rep. Brent Haymond, R-Spring-ville. "We're going to spend $2.5 billion (for all road construction over 10 years) and have no way to pay for it."

"We will bond," said Bodily, who chairs the House transportation budget committee. "Possibly we'll have a motor fuels tax increase, and more general fund money will go into transportation - we're putting $110 million of general fund money into roads this year."

But those revenue surpluses won't be available in future years, several House members said. And without those surpluses, where will the money come from to pay off the bonds? Last week, Leavitt said he may have to call a special session this year to deal with transportation funding. He doesn't know yet.

"Certainly by the (1997) Legislature we'll have a funding plan," said Bodily.

Let's hope so. The first big I-15 contracts are set to be bid in March 1997, just weeks after the 1997 session adjourns.