Recommendations by a citizen's forum that focused on how to finance Idaho's growing transportation needs were accepted by the Idaho Transportation Board this week at its meeting in Boise.
The Forum on Transportation Investment examined Idaho's growing transportation needs and available options for financing and funding Idaho's transportation system during eight meetings spanning 17 months.
The report includes 12 conclusions and 14 recommendations to help shape future investments in the Idaho surface transportation system. Among immediate considerations are actions necessary to increase stagnated revenues to the Highway Distribution Account: the funding source for 57 percent of state transportation funding, 38 percent of local highway jurisdiction funding and 5 percent of state police funding.
Chaired by former state representative Jim Kempton, the Forum held its final meeting on Jan. 5 to finalize its report.
The Forum was composed of individuals representing diverse interests and backgrounds, including public agencies, transportation service providers, public transportation providers, stakeholders and elected officials. Virtually every stakeholder interest in Idaho surface transportation had a voice on the Forum through one or more members.
Created by the Idaho Transportation Board, the Forum started work in September 2004, following completion of the states 30-year transportation visioning process, a process that began with the 2003 survey and report Idaho's Transportation Future: "Getting There Together."
The Forum's charter noted that, in considering recommendations for shaping future investment in the Idaho surface transportation system, traditional funding, combined with new innovative financing mechanisms, would need to be integrated with efficient and responsive planning to meet the transportation expectations of a growing population.
In accepting the Forum's report, the Idaho Transportation Board authorized release of the report to elected officials, legislators and the general public.
The 12 conclusions are:
"Forum conclusions indicate a growing gap between demand and revenue," Kempton observed. "Solutions are needed now. Ignoring transportation investment problems poorly situates the state for dealing with a growing population and unprecedented construction costs that are occurring now, and that will only increase over the next decade."