Board considers safe school route proposal
Representing a local delegation, state Sen. Elliot Werk last week emphasized the need to provide safe routes to schools. His presentation came during the regular Idaho Transportation Board when it met at District 3.
After withdrawing his proposed legislation to address this issue during the 2004 session, Sen. Werk has been collaborating with ITD and other stakeholders to develop a safe school route program.
He reported that some of the benefits of a Safe Route to School program, whereby children would walk or ride bikes to school in a safe environment; additional benefits include improved health, a decrease in traffic congestion, improved public safety and a reduction in injuries.
An advisory board has been established to develop a program. Its tasks include determining staffing requirements, criteria for awarding grants, establishing grant procedures determining the state funding level. He asked the board to commit to this important proposal.
Board members expressed interest in joining the Safe Routes to School effort. It has a history of promoting safety in this area, such as by providing funds for constructing sidewalks. ITD Director Dave Ekern was asked to review the proposal and provide a recommendation about the departments possible involvement.
Also on the board agenda:
Delegation, City of Meridian: Ten Mile Interchange
ITD has started work on the Change in Access Report, which must be approved by the Federal Highway Administration. It also will continue to work with the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho on the long-range plan, complete the environmental process, and explore funding options. Although board members acknowledge the benefits of the proposed interchange, funding is a concern. No construction funds have been identified for the project.
FY05-07 Idaho Airport Aid Program
In FY05, the plan totals $641,000 for airport improvement matching grants through fuel revenues. The plan is at the same funding level as the FY04 program because aviation fuel tax revenues have generally been flat during the past year. Substantial growth in the industry is not anticipated during the next few years.
The funds generally are used for airfield improvements. The FY06 and FY07 project lists were approved.
A number of airports statewide will benefit from the program. In addition to the seven commercial airports, general aviation facilities such as Rexburg, Coeur dAlene, Midvale, Downey and Burley will receive grants.
Boise Airport tour
The board walked through the new terminal, including stops to view the baggage handling system and airport operations center.
Phase II of the terminal improvements is under construction. The project will include a new security corridor, food court and ground-loading concourse. Construction is scheduled to be completed in the middle of September.