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
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:
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
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.