Idaho Transportation

Public Affairs Office
P.O. Box 7129
Boise, ID 83707
Fax: 208.334.8563

Board action clears way for unique
public transportation partnership

Collaborative efforts by the Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization (KMPO) and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe will create a unique partnership that will improve public transportation services in Kootenai County.

Representatives of KMPO last week asked the Idaho Transportation Board to amend the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) to increase public transportation funding for the new and expanded public transit services. The Coeur d’Alene Tribe will complete the service from De Smet, Tensed and Plummer to Worley and points north. Additionally, regularly-scheduled service in the Coeur d’Alene urbanized area will be expanded. These services are consistent with the public transportation plan currently being developed for the Kootenai metropolitan area.

The board, at its regular meeting in Boise, approved the STIP changes. Board member John McHugh said he is pleased with the improved relationship between KMPO and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. He also expressed his appreciation for the entities’ cooperative efforts to improve public transportation service in the area.

The agreement will provide a daily fixed-route service in the urbanized area of Kootenai County. County commissioners will sign the agreement, officially creating the transportation service, at 2 p.m., Tuesday (Feb. 1) in Coeur d'Alene.

Other board action

Scenic Byway Program
Noting the importance of the state’s Scenic Byway Program, which unites communities and provides economic benefits, the transportation board approved several items related to the scenic byway program:

Eight scenic byway projects will be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration for funding in the FY05 Federal Scenic Byway Discretionary Program. A total of $26.5 million is available this year on a nationally competitive basis. Following is the prioritized list of projects that Idaho will submit, the federal amount requested, and a brief description of the project:

  • Payette River National Scenic Byway Seed - $25,000: pursue development and promotion of safe access to the byway’s resources.
  • Pend Oreille National Scenic Byway Seed - $25,000: pursue development and promotion of safe access to the byway’s resources.
  • Northwest Passage National Scenic Byway Seed - $25,000: pursue development and promotion of safe access to the byway’s resources.
  • Idaho Byways Promotion - $116,000: website development, an advertisement program, and public relations efforts in conjunction with printing the “Taking the Scenic Route” brochure. ITD and the Idaho Division of Tourism Development are coordinating these marketing efforts.
  • Northwest Passage Auto Tour CD - $22,250: update and enhance the popular Northwest Passage Scenic Byway auto tour program, which includes easily accessible, free interpretation of the byway’s rich history, culture, and attractions with an entertaining, self-guided auto tour, accompanying map guide, and journal.
  • Stanley Community Building Renovation - $138,232: assist in the renovation, expansion, and modernization of the Stanley Community Building to accommodate an expanded Visitor Information Center. Upon completion, the visitor center will serve as the regional hub for the scenic byways corridor that includes three different byways converging in Stanley: the Sawtooth, the Ponderosa Pine, and the Salmon River.
  • Western Heritage Historic Byway Safety Improvements - $640,000: widen Swan Falls Road within the existing right-of-way and provide striping, signage, and public information. This project will improve safety and allow for safe multi-modal use of the byway.
  • Yankee Fork Corner Project - $55,775: provide an interpretive site for travelers along the Salmon River Scenic Byway. The site will include an American with Disabilities’ Act accessible pathway, interpretive signage along the pathway at several displays of farming and mining implements, a log-worm fence surrounding the perimeter to protect the displays, landscaping, and the construction of a small bridge to cross the ditch along the pathway.
The St. Joe River was designated as Idaho’s newest Scenic Byway, bringing the total to 26. The St. Maries Chamber of Commerce, along with Benewah and Shoshone counties, prepared the proposal for the byway designation. Thirty-one points of interest have been identified along the route, which runs from the junction with Idaho 3 in St. Maries to the Idaho/Montana line. The state of Montana is attempting to secure scenic byway designation to connect with the St. Joe River byway.

The board also approved a corridor management plan for the Western Heritage Historic Byway. Development of the plan took a year. A number of organizations helped develop the plan and provided letters of support for it. A corridor management plan is required as part of a byway’s designation.

The Western Heritage Historic Byway’s Plan includes a written history of the planning process and byway goals; a list of interpretive sites and projects; an analysis of the physical condition of the byway and its safety, services and facilities that are in place and that are needed to meet the expectations of visitors, local residents, and businesses; strategies to promote the corridor balanced with the care and conservation of the valuable historic, scenic, and cultural resources; management strategies; and funding sources.

Aeronautics’ Annual Report
Several Aeronautics Advisory Board members and Division of Aeronautics staff provided an annual report on the division’s activities. Aviation fatalities decreased in 2004, which Frank Lester attributes, in part, to the department’s extensive safety outreach efforts. The decrease in fatalities also is noteworthy in light of the increased usage of the state’s backcountry airstrips.

Aeronautics Administrator Bob Martin indicated the number of out-of-state visitors increased the past year. Mark Young reported on the recent Recreational Airstrip Symposiums held throughout the state. The action plan, with recommendations, is being finalized.

Bill Statham summarized ITD’s assistance to local communities with airport improvement projects. He expects an increase in requests for assistance because of changes in the business aviation sector, resulting in increased use of aviation facilities.