explores long-term transportation needs
Faced with a tripling in mileage to be traveled within the state's
boundaries by the year 2020, 40 Idahoans met in Boise Monday to launch
a state Forum on Transportation Investment (FTI). The panel, which is
to meet several times over the next year at locations across the state,
will explore the state's transportation needs, investments required
to meet them, and funding options.
The group, including some of the state's top economic leaders and strategic
thinkers, opened its deliberations with a news conference that received
extensive coverage. AASHTO Executive Director John Horsley then addressed
the panel, followed by demographics expert John Luthy.
of Idaho's future will be written by the decisions made in the next
few years decisions that are hard to make," said ITD Director
David Ekern. "They must be made carefully, addressing the state's
transportation issues holistically and with a clear understanding of
the many elements contributing to our mobility."
"The mountain states are the fastest-growing region in the country,"
Horsley said. "They're just booming as a consequence, their
transportation needs are going through the roof.
"This grassroots effort is a good model for how to reach consensus
on how to meet those needs," Horsley said.
With total car, truck and bus travel expected to reach two billion miles
by 2020 a figure expected to double again two decades after that
the group hopes to address near-term concerns while keeping the
long-range view in mind. It expects to explore such questions as:
How will the state's transportation system meet that
What kind of investments need to be made to keep Idaho
How should the improvements be funded? With more hybrid
and fuel-efficient vehicles being driven, Idaho's traditional source
of transportation funding, the gas tax, will bring in less revenue.
Organizational support for the forum is being provided by the partnership
of Tom Warne a former AASHTO President and former Utah DOT Executive
Director and Dwight Bower, former ITD director.
Warne told forum participants that citizens want to play an active role
in planning their own destinies when it comes to transportation. "Openness
and listening will be key to this study's success," Warne said.
Transportation Board Chairman Chuck Winder agreed, and challenged citizens
of the state to be prepared for some difficult decisions. "Idahoans
have a vision for what they want their transportation system to be,"
he said. "It is our responsibility to look at new and innovative
ways to realize that vision."
The forum will examine highway, rail and transit issues in Idaho. The
- Examine, document and assess Idaho's transportation needs through
2030 including those already documented by state and local government;
- Investigate current and potential future transportation finance tools
and assess their viability;
- Recommend actions and policies that will assist Idaho in achieving
its future transportation vision; and
- Submit a final report to the Idaho Transportation Board.
Photos: (Top) The Treasure Valley media turned out in force to learn
about ITD's statewide initiative; (bottom) Transportation Board Chairman
Chuck Winder answered questions about anticipated outcomes of the forum.