ITD Director Dave Ekern and department administrators presented
the FY2005 budget request to members of the Legislatures
Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee Thursday. The message
was simple and straightforward the proposed spending
authority of $425.9 million will enable the department to
provide the services and products Idaho citizens expect, and
to deliver them in the most efficient manner possible.
Transportation Board Chair Chuck Winder opened the JFAC testimony
by reminding legislators of ITDs long history of accurately
projecting revenue, reviewing financial statements monthly
and making spending adjustments throughout the year as necessary.
of the director's presentation focused on the products
and services that Idahoans will derive from ITDs
FY05 budget. The four primary goals of the budget include:
Supporting Idahos economic health
2. Improving program/service delivery
3. Improving safety and security, and
4. Enhancing system operations
The 90-minute appearance was equally divided among Ekerns
formal presentation and a dialogue segment in which legislators
asked questions about the proposal.
Ekern explained three legislative bills the department has
submitted to the Legislature related to:
What should Idahoans expect from its investment in ITD?
$241.6 million (56.7 percent of the department's budget)
will be used in contract construction projects, including
15 new bridge projects; improvement of 79 lane miles; the
preservation, maintenance and improvement of 1,141 lane miles
of highway; 47 safety and operations projects; 128 local highway
projects; and 86 projects involving design and right-of-way
That financial investment is part of a six-year, $1.5 billion
plan for both scheduled construction and projects under development
$4.2 million (about 1 percent) of ITDs budget, will
be devoted to public transportation services. The plan supports
six urban communities, 24 rural communities, six metropolitan
planning organizations, assistance to the states 61
senior citizen centers, purchase of 11 new transit vehicles
through the Vehicle Investment Program and ensure safety and
performance inspections of 325 public transportation vehicles
now in service.
ITD will invest $3.4 million statewide (or .8 percent of its
budget) in programs administered by its Division of Aeronautics.
Those programs focus primarily on safety and economic development.
More than 24 community airport improvement projects and seven
commercial airports will receive economic development grants
More than 27 airport improvement projects will be funded,
along with search and rescue efforts and safety programs for
the states 2,800 registered pilots and 2,300 registered
aircraft. Idaho records 1.9 million commercial aircraft boardings
and attracts 1.2 million visitors annually through its airports.
$130.5 million (or 30.6 percent) of ITDs budget will
be targeted for programs and services that directly benefit
customers snow removal from 1.5 million miles of highway,
application of 294,000 cubic yards of anti-skid material and
spraying 1.3 million gallons of chemical de-icer.
Routine pavement management involves the application of 54,000
gallons of asphalt and 82,000 tons of road mix and the installation
of 22,000 miles of pavement markers. More than 300 projects
will be developed and delivered and about 120 new contracts
will be administered. Funds also will cover about 23 local
maintenance agreements and provide more than 200 training
courses for approximately 3,100 participants.
Division of Motor Vehicles
The divisions expenditures account for $17.7 million
(4.2 percent) of ITDs budget. DMV is the departments
largest service provider and is responsible for
administering 309,000 driver licenses, 550,000 vehicle titles,
55,000 Idaho-based commercial vehicle registrations and 1.6
million passenger vehicle registrations. It also is responsible
for Idahos Ports of Entry that annually weigh 2.7 million
services and capital facilities
ITD will direct 5.8 percent of its budget ($28.5 million)
to a critical, yet rarely seen part, of its operation
planning efforts, administration and capital projects.
The investment in planning will be used to evaluate traffic
on 4,944 centerline miles of highway, measure congestion in
more than 22 cities, operate 168 automated traffic-recording
sites, provide 499 skill-enhancing training courses, and partner
with 10 state and 44 local entities to share ITDs wide-area
computer networks, data, video images and web services.
Ekern also discussed the 18-month process that produced a
long-range transportation vision for Idaho late last year.
Through that extensive statewide process, the department
learned that Idaho citizens want:
We believe that the budget proposal thats before
you takes that next step in the journey to the vision that
the citizens are articulating for the next 30 years,
Ekern said in closing his formal presentation.
And it helps us to meet the potential of a transportation
system that has not yet been fully realized throughout our
Legislators responded with a number of questions relating
to construction contractors, public transportation, the loss
of highly skilled and qualified employees, the departments
merit increase program and its efficiency measures.
JFAC members complimented the department on the process of
providing merit increases to more than 1,800 employees, and
one legislator suggested it could become a model for other
After considering the proposed ITD budget, JFAC will meet
Feb. 13 to make a formal recommendation that will be forwarded
to the House and Senate for debate. The emerging budget will
advance to the governor for final approval.