Supporters emphasized that the route will provide benefits
to the state by removing some traffic from heavily traveled
Idaho 55 and providing another Payette River crossing. Currently,
motorists would have a long detour if the Lardo Bridge is
out of service.
Innovative financing/funding initiative
Based on studies the past 10 years, Idaho has an unmet demand
for transportation improvements that exceed $3.8 billion,
according to ITD Director Dave Ekern. He believes the financing
mechanisms and funding will become more inadequate to address
the long-term demands for system expansion and for public
transportation infrastructure/operation. He presented an outline
of the initiative that would address system needs and available
options for financing and funding.
The elements would include understanding the current financing
and funding options, identifying transportation demands for
both local and state systems, and exploring future innovative
financing and consistent revenue options.
Activities would encompass creating a finance policy panel
of public and private decision makers, establishing a finance
executive panel of key local agency and association executive
directors, and conducting a seminar on transportation finance
in the fall of 2004.
The board supported the directors effort.
Board members directed chairman Charles Winder and Ekern
to begin the study, with the participation of transportation
partners. Their charge is to identify the needs and options
for financing the states transportation system and to
develop proposals that lead to long-term consistent and coordinated
solutions that address financial needs.
FY05 CEC Implementation
The board also approved the change in employee compensation
(CEC) plan proposed by management. The legislature authorized
state agencies to award a 2% CEC increase for FY05. ITDs
plan, which is within the guidelines established by the Division
of Financial Management, Division of Human Resources, and
the State Controllers Office, is based on merit. It
also provides for a minimum raise of 25 cents per hour and
will include temporary employees.
The board commended ITDs management team for developing
the proposal, and again expressed its support for providing
salary increases to the dedicated ITD employees.
Photo caption: Archaeologists search (above) for
Indian artifacts at a site along U.S. 12 near Lenore. The
historical site was discovered as ITD prepared to add a passing
lane to the highway. Matt Farrar describes the unique features
of the Dent suspension bridge (lower left) to board members
on the District 2 tour.