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REGULAR MEETING OF THE IDAHO TRANSPORTATION BOARD

 

February 9, 2012

 

The Idaho Transportation Board met at 8:00 AM on Thursday, February 9, 2012 at the Idaho Transportation Department, Boise, Idaho. The following principals were present:

            Jerry Whitehead, Chairman

            Gary Blick, Vice Chairman – District 4

            Jim Coleman, Member – District 1

            Janice B. Vassar, Member – District 2

            Dwight Horsch, Member – District 5

            Lee Gagner, Member – District 6

            Brian W. Ness, Director

Scott Stokes, Chief Deputy

            Sue S. Higgins, Executive Assistant and Secretary to the Board

            Larry Allen, Lead Deputy Attorney General

 

Executive Session on Personnel Issues. Member Coleman made a motion to meet in executive session at 8:00 AM to discuss personnel issues as authorized in Idaho Code Section 67-2345(b). Member Gagner seconded the motion and it passed 5-0 by individual roll call vote.

 

A discussion was held on personnel matters.

 

The Board came out of executive session at 9:05 AM. No final actions or decisions were made.

 

Board Minutes. Member Vassar made a motion to approve the minutes of the regular Board meeting held on January 18, 2012 as submitted. Member Horsch seconded the motion and it passed unopposed.

 

Board Meeting Dates. The following meeting dates and locations were scheduled:

            March 14-15, 2012 – Boise

            April 18-19, 2012 – District 2

            May 15-16, 2012 – District 5

 

Consent Calendar. Member Gagner questioned the engineer’s estimate on the I-84, Burley to Salt Lake City Interchange project. The low bid was 18% higher than the engineer’s estimate. Chief Engineer Tom Cole said the project included a warranty. District 4 had no prior experience with this type of project.

 

Chairman Whitehead requested removing the repeal of Board Policy B-01-21, Partnership Culture, from the consent calendar.

 

Member Coleman made a motion, seconded by Member Vassar, and passed unopposed, to approve the following resolution:

 

RES. NO.        NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Idaho Transportation Board

ITB12-04        approves advancing East Main Canal and Stratton Canal Bridge to FY12 of the Off-System Bridge Program; the addition of two FY11 Tribal Transit Discretionary Awards to the FY12 Transit Program; the annual update of the Safety Rest Areas and Oasis Partnerships; and the request for work task number two; and has received and reviewed the annual report on the status of state-owned dwellings, contract award information, and the professional services agreements and term agreement work task report.

 

1) Advance East Main Canal, Key #9850, and Stratton Canal Bridge, Key #9851, to FY12 of the Off-System Bridge Program. These two bridge replacement projects were originally programmed for delivery in FY12. The Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC) was prepared to advance them to FY11 last summer, but this did not occur due primarily to the fact that the Department did not receive any FY11 redistribution of obligation authority not used by other states. LHTAC was certain that the projects would be advanced, so filled the presumably vacated FY12 slots within the Program. Rather than renege on those most recent promises, these two bridge projects were scheduled in Preliminary Development. LHTAC requests advancing the East Main Canal project for $855,000 and the Stratton Canal Bridge project for $439,000 to FY12 to be funded from savings on other projects.

 

2) Addition of Two FY11 Tribal Transit Discretionary Awards to the FY12 Transit Program. The Federal Transit Administration solicited applications for $15 million in discretionary funds for Public Transportation on Indian Reservations. The Coeur d’Alene Tribe was awarded $93,000 and the Nez Perce Tribe received $500,000 for additional operations. Staff requests the addition of these two projects to the FY12 Transit Program.

 

3) Annual Update of Safety Rest Areas and Oasis Partnerships. The 2012 Safety Rest Area chart and map were updated to reflect the current rest area projects and status. One new rest area was completed in District 6 at Dubois. The Mineral Mountain Rest Area in District 2 is programmed for FY12 and the Cotterell Rest Area in District 4 is scheduled in FY13. Proposed Public/Private/Government Partnerships projects are funded to FY13 for a Camas Prairie facility in District 2, and the Cougar Mountain Lodge and ION Truck Stop in District 3; however, there is no funding available beyond FY13. The 2012 Safety Rest Areas and Oasis Partnerships Planning Map, as shown as Exhibit 413, is made a part hereof with like effect.

 

4) Request for Work Task Number Two. The Intersection of North Linder Road and SH-44, Stage 1 was approved as a pilot Design Build project. The project will improve traffic operations and increase safety by widening SH-44 and Linder Road, replacing the existing traffic signal, and adding turning and through lanes. The initial conceptual design services were estimated at $300,000 to $350,000. CH2MHill was the selected consultant firm. Since the estimate was prepared, ITD has determined that Ada County Highway District did not have as much information as previously assumed and additional research and design would be needed. The estimate also did not account for the recent SH-44 and Ballantyne Lane intersection improvements one mile east of this intersection. The project limits for the Linder Road and SH-44 project have been extended to the east to determine the feasibility of improving SH-44 all the way to Ballantyne Lane to prevent an immediate bottleneck to the state system. Staff requests approval to increase the term agreement limit to $530,000 with CH2MHill for the additional services. Contracting with CH2MHill will keep the overall project costs down; minimize delays to the project schedule; and eliminate redundancies, inefficiencies, and overlaps in tasks with having another firm to coordinate with.

 

5) Annual Report on Status of State-owned Dwellings. The report on the status of ITD-owned dwellings included the fair market rental value, rental status, and monthly rental amount. The Department owns 3 stick-framed houses, 11 manufactured homes, 4 manufactured bunkhouses, 25 trailer pads, and 2 apartments at Johnson Creek and Cavanaugh Bay Air Strips. ITD also owns 9 trailer pads and 3 houses at rest area locations around the state. In 2011, two trailer pads were demolished, one new trailer pad was built, and manufactured bunkhouses were set up at Island Park and Lowman. Current needs are for additional manufactured bunkhouses at Lowman and Island Park.

 

6) Contract Awards. Key #12998 – US-12, Orofino to Greer, District 2. Low bidder: Valley Paving & Asphalt, Inc. - $1,186,601.

 

Key #11577 – SH-55, Milepost 80.6 to Boise National Forest Boundary, District 3. Low bidder: Valley Paving & Asphalt, Inc. - $2,146,905.

 

Keys #11615 and #11616 – US-93, Roadside Park to Milepost 11, and Milepost 11 to Deep Creek, Twin Falls County, District 4. Low bidder: Knife River Corporation – Northwest - $8,251,863.

 

Key #11602 – Shoshone Area East, District 4. Low bidder: Snake River Construction, Inc. - $738,525.

 

The low bid on key #11598 – SH-25, 100 East Road to Junction I-84, Minidoka County, District 4, was more than ten percent over the engineer’s estimate, requiring justification. The major differences between the low bid and engineer’s estimate were in the approaches, plant mix, and cold milling items. Staff believes the differences may be due to the location of the source material, the price of asphalt, and the small quantities. Staff does not believe that re-advertising will result in better bids. Low bidder: Kloepfer, Inc. - $1,068,462.

 

The low bid on key #11077 – I-84, Burley to Salt Lake City Interchange, District 4, was more than ten percent over the engineer’s estimate, requiring justification.  The major differences were in the special traffic control maintenance, special seal coat, and mobilization items. Staff believes the differences may be due to new construction procedures and warranty specifications. Some bid items are used in a different format than they were in the past. The district does not believe that re-advertising will give better results until contractors become more familiar with the warranty specification results. Low bidder: Intermountain Slurry Seal, Inc. - $1,269,952.

 

The low bid on keys #11111 and #11125 – US-30, Lava Hot Springs Business Loop and Thomas Flats to Wyoming State Line, Bear Lake County, District 5, was more than ten percent over the engineer’s estimate, requiring justification. The main difference between the engineer’s estimate and low bid were in the seal coating and mobilization items. Staff believes the difference is due to the projects’ small size and remote locations. It does not believe re-bidding would be beneficial. Low bidder: Staker & Parson Companies dba Jack B. Parson - $108,726.

 

Key #11632 – US-91, Burnside to Highway Avenue, Chubbuck, District 5. Low bidder: Concrete Placing Company, Inc. - $677,790.

 

7) Professional Services Agreements and Term Agreement Work Task Report. From January 3 through January 25, $987,211 in new professional services agreements and work tasks were issued. Ten supplemental agreements to existing agreements were processed in the amount of $435,187 during this period.

 

Board Items. Chairman Whitehead met with the Governor’s Office and a number of people regarding his appointment as Chairman of the Board. He also attended the Senate confirmation hearing for Aeronautics Advisory Board (AAB) Member Colleen Back. He believes Ms. Back will be a beneficial member to the AAB due to her extensive background and experience in the aviation industry.

 

Director’s Report. Director Ness congratulated Chairman Whitehead on his new position and is looking forward to working with him in that capacity. Some of his activities from the past month included meeting with the Chairmen of the House and Senate Transportation Committees, meetings with other state agencies and local entities, participating in the Governor’s Capital for a Day in Murphy, the annual joint germane committee presentation, and a meeting with parties involved in the I-90, Beck Road interchange project.

 

ITD and Knife River Construction received awards for two I-84 projects in District 4. Additionally, the Idaho Chapter of Women in Transportation recognized Monica Crider for her efforts and achievements and ITD and the Connecting Idaho Partners for its innovative solutions for the I-84, Ten Mile project.

 

Director Ness said staff participated in a conference call regarding reauthorization of the federal transportation act. It is estimated that $12 billion is needed to sustain the current level of funding for the nation’s transportation system. Both chambers are working on reauthorization proposals.

 

ITD’s budget presentation to the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee will be on February 10. Director Ness said other upcoming events include a highway safety workshop, an economic summit, and meetings with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and LHTAC.

 

In conclusion, Director Ness recognized Vice Chairman Blick for his service on the Board and his contributions to the Transportation Department.

 

Annual Report on Human Resources (HR), Training, and Fair Employment Practices. Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) Mary Harker said the HR functions were realigned last year to consolidate all services and programs that affect the workforce. The division supports the Department by providing full service consultation in the areas of personnel administration, employee relations, leave management, safety, equal employment opportunities, benefits, and training and development.

 

CHRO Harker noted that disciplinary actions spiked in 2010 with 43. The 25 reported disciplinary actions in 2011 were higher than the average from 2004 through 2009. She believes this is due to the focus on accountability. Employees’ leave without pay decreased, mainly due to a concerted effort to educate managers on this issue. Another focus area was employment law, with 325 employees trained on this topic.

 

HR Program Manager Bill Schurtz summarized staffing and recruitment issues. There was a reduction in the amount of sick leave used in 2011, partly due to the “back to work” program. The turnover rate is a concern. Vacancy rates have been climbing steadily over the past three years, with last year’s rate at 6.2%. During the past five years, 40% of separations were due to retirement. The Department is finding it difficult to attract and retain good employees because of its inability to provide competitive wages.

 

Diane Steiger, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)/Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program Manager, highlighted the EEO activities. FHWA recognized several of ITD’s practices, including its social media program, level II contract compliance reviews, and brown bag diversity series. Some of the Title VI and VII activities included completing the five-year affirmative action plan, minority outreach, and complaint investigations. There were no external complaints and 17 internal complaints. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) transition plan is continuing with reviews of buildings for compliance. Extensive outreach was conducted for the DBE program, including training and publishing newsletters. Education and training for contract compliance were conducted. Goals for 2012 include streamlining to improve efficiencies, improving the website, increasing training and outreach, and continuing the ADA transition inventory.

 

Safety Manager Vic Parrish summarized the safety training conducted last year. Some of the classes were defensive driving, winter maintenance and plow operations, and flagger and traffic control. The office investigated 220 tort claims, with 111 denied, 9 still open, and 1 in litigation. A total of 94 work-related injuries occurred during FY11, resulting in 2,278 lost work days and $939,253 in costs. There were 177 vehicular collisions reported in FY11, resulting in $284,436 in equipment damage, $1,084 in property damage, and $50,667 in tort damages. Efforts will focus on improving safety through training, exploring engineering solutions to problems, establishing an agency-wide plan for repeat violators, implementing performance measures, and partnering.

 

Safety Manager Parrish also reported on the Wellness Program. The focus is on improving employees’ general health through services such as health clinics, flu shots, and educational information. The fitness challenge continues to be a popular fitness activity.

 

Tony Loomer, Training and Development Manager, said the majority of training provided was technical classes. More training was conducted in 2011 than in prior years due to the need to train employees on the Transportation Asset Management Systems. A training steering committee has been established, which will provide better planning and scheduling of resources. Some of the goals for this year include implementing Share Point and increasing the maintenance training program.

 

Chairman Whitehead thanked staff for the informative presentation.

 

Legislative Report. Government Affairs Manager (GAM) Mollie McCarty said ITD’s legislation to codify ITD as the recipient of Federal Transit Administration funding has passed the House of Representatives. All of the Department’s rules have been approved by the Senate Transportation Committee. Staff is monitoring a number of proposals related to issues such as cell phone usage while driving, license plates, and eliminating the speed differential.

 

Chairman Whitehead thanked GAM McCarty for the report.

 

Tour of the Division of Transportation Performance. The Board toured Transportation Performance and visited with staff about its responsibilities.

 

Executive Session on Personnel and Legal Issues. Member Vassar made a motion to meet in executive session at 11:40 AM to discuss personnel and legal issues as authorized in Idaho Code Section 67-2345(b) and (f). Member Horsch seconded the motion and it passed 5-0 by individual roll call vote.

 

A discussion was held on legal and personnel matters.

 

Chairman Whitehead and Member Horsch left the meeting at 12:35 PM to attend their Senate confirmation hearings.

 

The Board came out of executive session at 1:00 PM. No final actions or decisions were made.

 

Tour of the Office of Highway Safety (OHS). The Board toured OHS and learned more about staff’s duties and responsibilities.

 

Monthly Financial Statements. Controller Gordon Wilmoth said the FHWA Indirect Cost Allocation revenue through December was $23,260,000, which exceeded the projected amount by $7,035,000. Revenue from the Equipment Buy Back program was $889,000, which was the projected amount. Miscellaneous state funded revenue of $16,914,000 was $1,078,000 above the forecast. Highway Distribution Account revenue, excluding ethanol exemption elimination, was $89,430,000. The projected revenue was $90,680,000. Revenue from the ethanol exemption elimination was $8,062,000, which was 5.8% below the projected amount. Revenue to the State Aeronautics Fund from aviation fuels was $846,700, or $25,200 below the forecast.

 

Total expenditures in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Title XII Fund for highway projects were $170,095,000, while $178,800,000 had been appropriated. Expenditures for public transportation were $8,113,500 of the $9,200,000 available.

 

Manager, Transportation Investments Dave Amick reported that net cumulative obligations were $102.3 million as of January 27, of which $106.3 million had a budget scheduled on October 1. The original budget cost associated with the scheduled obligations is $128.5 million. Net cumulative obligations are 27% higher than the historical trend of $80.8 million for January.

 

Speed Limits in Work Zones. Traffic Services Engineer (TSE) Carl Main summarized the process to establish speed limits in construction zones, starting with federal and state regulations. Mobility and safety are major considerations. The type of work being completed and the proximity of construction workers to the travel lanes are considered when speed limits are established. He acknowledged that occasionally the Department receives negative feedback from the traveling public, which staff takes into consideration.

 

Chairman Whitehead and Member Horsch returned during this presentation.

 

Vice Chairman Blick emphasized the importance of realistic construction zones. He acknowledged motorists’ frustration when projects are signed and flagged for extensive lengths when no work is being done. TSE Main concurred and said ITD tries to be cognizant of that.

 

Member Horsch asked if construction workers were surveyed regarding their personal safety when the Department’s procedures were reviewed. TSE Main replied that just prior to that review, a committee comprised of legislators, law enforcement personnel, contractors, and others was established to review this issue. Contractors and ITD maintenance employees provided information on construction workers’ safety. TSE Main added that planning is an integral part of the process and that maintaining safety and mobility will increase costs for traffic control.

 

The Board thanked TSE Main for the informative overview on construction zones.

 

Election of Vice Chairman. Member Gagner nominated Member Coleman to serve as vice chairman of the Board. Member Vassar seconded the motion and it passed 4-1 with Member Coleman objecting.

 

            WHEREUPON, the Idaho Transportation Board’s regular monthly meeting officially adjourned at 2:35 PM; however following adjournment, a program was held in recognition of Vice Chairman Blick’s service on the Board.

 

 

   _____________signed_______________

JERRY WHITEHEAD, Chairman

Idaho Transportation Board

Read and Approved

March 14, 2012

Boise, Idaho

Page Last Modified: 3/15/2012 11:53:53 AM

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