ITD News
Associated Press
News Link

JFAC forwards budget request without changes

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s Fiscal Year 2005 budget recommendation for the Idaho Transportation Department was unanimously endorsed by the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations and Finance Committee last week.

The combined House and Senate committee approved the $426 million ITD spending request without debate or changes Friday (Feb. 13) and forwarded it to floors of both chambers. The emerging budget then will advance to the governor for final approval.

“The budget process was very straight forward and reflects good analysis, forecasting and planning on the part of all the entities – the transportation department, the governor and the Legislature,” said Julie Pipal, manager of ITD’s Budget, Policy and Intergovernmental Relations office.

“It is important to note that the proposed ITD budget is very close to our anticipated revenue and is in line with the director’s goal for fiscal stewardship.”

Rep. Scott Bedke (R-Oakley) complimented ITD for the merit program it implemented in January and said he would share it with the House leadership.

Quick passage by JFAC reflects positively on the message presented by Transportation Board Chair Charles Winder, ITD Director Dave Ekern and division administrators on Feb. 5. In that 90-minute session, Ekern outlined what legislators and Idaho citizens can expect for their investment in the transportation department.

The FY05 budget request will enable the department to manage a transportation system that supports Idaho’s economic health, improves program and service delivery, improves safety and security, and enhances system operations.

“We believe that the budget proposal that’s before you takes that next step in the journey to the vision that all citizens are articulating for the next 30 years,” Ekern told JFAC members during the budget presentation. “And it helps us to meet the potential of a transportation system that has not yet been fully realized throughout the state.”

For a review of ITD’s Feb. 5 budget presentation click here.