Well, we are coming up fast in the outside lane to it being one year since the freeway speed limits in Idaho where changed – 80 mph for cars and pickups, but 70 mph for big rigs.

However, Idahoans aren’t all sold on the higher speed limits for cars and pick-ups on rural freeways, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.

The poll also finds that most Idahoans would support a new local option sales tax if the proceeds were dedicated to infrastructure projects and maintenance to grow local economies and developments.

While rural freeway speeds went up last year, the speed limits on urban interstates remained at 65 mph, relatively low as some other western states are opting for higher interstate speeds even in urban areas.

Pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds that 30 percent of residents like the new 80 mph on rural freeways, but 34 percent like 75 mph and 21 percent even like 70 miles per hour.


While those in western and eastern Idaho basically like the higher speeds, those in northern Idaho are slow boats – only 13 percent of northern Idaho residents like the 80 mph, while 26 percent like 75 mph and 40 percent like going 70 miles per hour.

Yep, you could guess it. Younger drivers like going faster.

Jones finds that 51 percent of those 18-24 years old like the 80 miles per hour, while only 17 percent of those over 70 years old like the higher speed limit.

Let’s hope those seniors also aren’t driving on the freeways with their right turn signal left on.

Idaho Politics Weekly also asked about whether citizens would support a new local option sales tax to fund infrastructure – like roads -- and how important good infrastructure is in redeveloping communities and growing the economy.

In addition, Jones asked if local governments are doing enough to maintain and expand local infrastructures.

Idahoans are split over their local officials’ “doing all they can” to keep infrastructure up to aid economic development – 48 percent say they are “definitely” or “probably” doing the job, 46 percent say they are “definitely” or “probably” not doing the job they should.

There is currently a state sales tax, and a local option sales tax in some resort cities.

But there is no broad local option sales tax for upkeep of roads and other infrastructure.

Jones asked if Idahoans would favor or oppose a local option sales tax for infrastructure.

He found that 52 percent would “strongly” or “somewhat” support such a tax, while 40 percent would “strongly” or “somewhat” oppose such a tax.

Republicans favor the new local option sales tax, 49-41 percent; Democrats favor it, 63-27 percent; and political independents favor it, 49-42 percent, Jones found.

When asked if they favor or oppose the use of local government funds for infrastructure development, Idahoans were in favor by large numbers:

-- 78 percent favor local funds going to “redevelop your community.”

-- 83 percent favor local funds to attract and grow new businesses.

-- And 85 percent favor local funds for growing the state’s economy.

The survey was of 605 adult Idahoans polled from Feb. 17-25, margin of error plus or minus 3.98 percent.