concept explored at Aug. 5 workshop
The first of a series of workshops to explore new and innovative ways to fund Idahos transportation system was held in Boise on Thursday, Aug. 5.
We asked regional business and state leaders to learn more about one of the potential financing tools GARVEE bonds, said Charlie Rountree, Division of Planning Manager.
GARVEE is an acronym for Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle. It allows state and local agencies to accelerate the funding of transportation projects by using future federal funds. This allows large construction projects to be completed in a much shorter timeframe. Bonding decreases project costs by avoiding future inflation in land values, labor and materials.
GARVEE bonding is a way to maximize our existing resources, Rountree said. With rising inflation, a growing population, a flat revenue stream and the need for further economic development ... Idaho is in an opportune position to evaluate methods of leveraging our resources.
Idahos highway construction projects are financed
primarily from the departments annual allocation of federal highway
funds plus state and local matching funds. The current approach generates
$285 million annually. That is significantly below the funding needed
to address Idahos existing backlog of highway needs, Rountree
ITD Director Dave Ekern described challenges facing the department to the 50 business and government leaders who attended the workshop.
The transportation challenges we face seem clearly defined managing congestion, enhancing safety, providing mobility and giving our customers multimodal choices, Ekern said. Unfortunately, the solutions are not as easily defined. We need answers and strategies to determine our investment in transportation today and tomorrow with foresight and wisdom."
Idaho State Sen. Hal Bunderson followed with a presentation about why he believes bonding is a good idea for the state. Workshop participants then held a discussion about the concept and asked questions.
As we look to the future, we need the help of our states leaders to determine whether this tool and other ideas are worth pursuing, Rountree said. This was a good first step.
The department will hold additional meetings across this state during the next six months to explore innovative funding options. Called the Forum for Transportation Investment the next meeting will be in Boise in late September.