will find important issues debated
A recurring process that touches the lives of every Idaho citizen and influences our daily decisions resumes Monday, Jan. 9 in the heart of the capital city.
Citizen legislators will assemble at noon for the formal opening of the second session of the 58th Idaho Legislature. Governor Kempthorne will present his agenda for the coming year when he delivers a combined State of the State and Budget address from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the senate chambers.
In his 2005 address, the governor outlined his vision
for Connecting Idaho through an innovative financing program called
GARVEE (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle) bonding. Today, exactly
a year later, we have the tool available to begin a decade-long transition
to a 21st Century transportation system.
A number of topics related to transportation will surface in the coming Legislative session – issues that have an impact on the way we do business and on how Idahoans use the transportation system. We will keep you informed about those discussions as they take shape.
One of the far-reaching challenges the governor may address Monday is employee compensation. An interim committee last summer engaged in an extensive process to determine the financial needs of state employees and the funding limits of state agencies.
The transportation department – through testimony by board chairman Chuck Winder – reaffirmed the need of our employees to have substantial changes in the compensation formula. It promises to be one of the most important issues Legislators will debate in the coming months.
We also are prepared to request Legislative authorization of more than $220 million in GARVEE bonds to support construction of xx highway projects throughout Idaho – projects that Governor Kempthorne identified in his 2005 State of the State address. The Connecting Idaho program will be key component of our 2006 report and budget request, which also will include a request for spending authority to operate, maintain and build our transportation infrastructure.
The process to outline our fiscal needs begins with presentations to the House and Senate transportation committees later this month and will culminate with a formal budget request to the Joint Appropriations and Finance Committee (JFAC), scheduled for 9:45 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 9.
Legislative sessions provide us opportunities to explain the importance of Idaho’s transportation system and the role it plays in keeping our citizens connected.