The Enhancement Advisory Committee recently completed its review of applications and will recommend a prioritized list to the Idaho Transportation Board when it meets next week at District 2 in Lewiston.
Board members will meet for a pre-board activity Wednesday and conduct formal business at the district office, 2600 Frontage Road, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, followed by a district tour on Friday (May 20).
ITD staff members anticipate that $6.5 million will be available for enhancement projects. Board members will review the committee’s recommendations and select projects to include in the draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program that will be released for public review and comment in July. The final STIP draft will be presented to the board for approval in September.
Among the 13 enhancement projects eligible for enhancement funding are:
These activities have been grouped into three main categories. Approximately 64 percent of the projects recommended for funding are bicycle and pedestrian enhancements; 20 percent are scenic enhancements; and 16 percent are historic enhancements. This proposed funding distribution is in accordance with guidelines established by the board.
Last month, the transportation board approved the use of $20 million in federal funds in FY06 for safety initiatives that will improve travel conditions for Idaho travelers. Among the 16 projects that ITD staff will recommend to address safety concerns are:
Like the proposed enhancement projects, a committee reviews applications for CMAQ (congestion, mitigation and air quality) funds and provides a prioritized list of projects for funding consideration by the board.
The intent of this CMAQ program is to implement cost-effective activities, plans and projects that are mutually beneficial to transportation and air quality. The board established a range of $2-to-$4 million for CMAQ in federal-aid funding per year. Types of projects being recommended for funding in FY06 and FY07 include purchasing flusher/deicer trucks, vacuum sweeper trucks and commuter vans, and signal coordination.
The board’s Friday tour will focus on U.S. 95 north of Lewiston. Construction is under way to build a four-lane highway from the top of the Lewiston hill to Thorncreek Road north of Genesee. A tour of the recently renovated railroad building in Potlatch (funded with Enhancement Program funds), and a luncheon meeting with Moscow city officials also are planned for Friday.
Some of board members will start their District 2 visit by floating the Lochsa River on Wednesday. The U.S. Forest Service and District 2 staff members have been coordinating this optional activity as part of the board’s visit to the area. When the group stops for lunch during the trip, Forest Service representatives will discuss issues related to U.S. 12.