Board approves list of legislative proposals
The Idaho Transportation Board, meeting this week in Twin Falls, approved the submission of 17 legislative proposals to the Division of Financial Management (DFM) for consideration by lawmakers in the 2005 Legislative session that begins in January.
Pending DFMs approval, Idaho Transportation Department staff will draft legislation for each of the proposals.
Those proposals generally fall under one of three categories: improving safety, program efficiency, or innovative financing.
Some of the concepts include a primary seat belt law, mandatory use of chains or other approved traction devices when posted by the department, raising the maximum allowable speed limit to 75 miles per hour on state highways (based on engineering studies), transferring the Division of Aeronautics search and rescue authority to the Adjutant General of the Idaho Air National Guard, and authorization to issue GARVEE bonds (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles) to finance construction projects.
Other board discussion
Rest Area Rehabilitation and Construction Program
The Board recognizes the importance and value of providing quality facilities, although funding the maintenance and rehabilitation of existing rest areas and construction of new ones has been a concern.
Engineers also must weigh the merits of rest areas with highway construction projects.
Board members agreed on Tuesday to allocate approximately $10 million annually for the statewide rest area program. This commitment is to be sustained until all existing rest areas are included on a rehabilitation/reconstruction cycle and all new rest areas targeted for construction have been built. The cycle consists of rehabilitating facilities every 20 years and reconstructing them every 40 years.
Ten new rest areas have been identified for construction, at the rate of approximately one new rest area every two years. They are:
The proposed rest area locations are not in a prioritized order, although the two noted (*) are currently scheduled in the STIP.
However, because the aircraft have been idle for several months, the GSA will require inspection and maintenance before the planes are returned to service. No costly repairs are anticipated. The Beechcraft Baron is a pressurized aircraft and can carry two to three passengers at a lower cost than the states King Air.
The board authorized the ITD Director Dave Ekern to proceed, through the GSAs property disposal program, with replacement of the Navajo aircraft that crashed near Atlanta in March 2002. The Aeronautics Advisory Board supports the recommendation.
District 4 Tour
The board also met with local officials on their tour of the corridor.
Some officials thanked the board for assistance with recent projects, while others requested new projects. The cities of Bellevue and Hailey are taking a proactive approach to address the continued growth in the area, especially increased traffic. Peak Bus and Ketchum Area Rapid Transit provided details about public transportation services they provide, and both expressed the need for a local option tax for public transportation.