approves ITD budget request;
scales back Connecting Idaho proposal
wanted to update you on the events in JFAC this week with respect to
ITD’s budget request.
JFAC considered the budget proposal in two parts. The
first was our request for $501 million to operate the department and
fund our highway investment, public transportation, and aeronautics
programs. The second was our proposal of authority for $218 million
in GARVEE Bonding for the Connecting Idaho Initiative.
The good news is that JFAC endorsed our $501 million
base budget virtually as submitted. This included our special proposals
$3.0 Million to begin the modernization of our DMV
$5.1 Million for construction of a new District 4
Headquarters in Shoshone
$17.6 Million for equipment.
is truly good news, it is the first time our budget has exceeded $500
million, it will fund salaries and we are thankful for the support shown
by JFAC and our legislative sponsors.
The bad news is that we were not nearly as fortunate with our innovative
funding proposal for GARVEE Bonding.
As you recall we submitted a proposal of $218.0 for a
multi-faceted program to advance several critical projects.
In essence JFAC adopted a $200 million proposal which
on the surface appears to fund major improvements on US 95, I-84, and
However, our current analysis reveals the following reality….
(Analysis is not complete but these are the first items to be understood)
The proposal selects projects and fund-specific
amounts…it does not adopt the program
approach with the board in control as agreed to last
year and as proposed by the board.
The funding as specified would in reality only fund
construction on US 95 from Worley to Setter at $45.4 million and US
30 from McCammon to Soda Springs at $29.5 million. That is less than
$75 million in construction and completes less than 13 miles of road.
The funding for Meridian to Caldwell is the funding
for the Ten Mile Interchange which will not be ready until 2008 so
we may not be able to use the money at all. It does not address capacity
in the corridor as represented in the media.
The remainder of the funding authorized was for projects
which we had indicated could not be ready until 2008 and therefore
were not in our original proposal.
The proposal provides only planning money for other
corridors and specifies the activities eligible which means we have
no flexibility in the use of the funding.
The legislation specifies specific amounts for each
project which means we have no flexibility if the projects come in
over or under the amount as specified.
It is the opinion of some bond counsel that the bonding
authority expires July 1, 2007 which means if we have not bonded the
project by then the project cannot be completed.
Because the proposal funds projects it does not allow
the Board the ability to prepare for the future and will in essence
delay the future funding of projects in the program.
It was represented in the hearing that in 1991 the
legislature had picked $12.5 million in projects. The reality is that
they appropriated General Fund money for 20 highway
districts and counties for local projects none of which came to ITD.
All in all the proposal adopted by JFAC is a significant
departure and disconnect from what the Department has developed and
the Board adopted as the driving principles behind how to implement
a GARVEE Bonding program.
For your information I have attached a map of the JFAC
adopted proposal and comparison table.
We will keep you updated if the debate is to continue
on shaping the program.