Highway funds distributed on basis of need
One of Idaho’s greatest assets – geographical diversity created by mountains, rivers, canyons and plains – also constitutes one of our greatest challenges, ensuring that all regions of the state remain fully connected through a modern transportation system.
It makes no sense – from the broad perspective – to separate Idaho’s distinct regions and debate whether one is receiving a disproportionate amount of funding or preference in construction projects. By its very nature, transportation involves moving from one location to another, and that includes mobility from northern Idaho to southwestern Idaho or eastern Idaho.
The Idaho Transportation Board and ITD administrators and staff, are charged with maintaining a precarious balance to ensure that citizens enjoy safe, efficient transportation options, regardless of their point of origin or their destination. A transportation system for all Idahoans provides:
Idaho’s connected highway system makes those possible. It is only through a process of careful prioritization and the balancing of needs that we are able to maintain that connectivity. Our urban areas and rural areas are essential partners. At the core of our decision-making process is the Statewide Transportation Investment Program – a six-year schedule of projects that benefit all regions of the state.
We are concerned about meeting the present and future needs of Idaho’s transportation system and ensuring that we have adequate funds. That is why we supported creation of the Forum on Transportation Investment in 2004. The Forum included a cross-section of 57 members from throughout the state who met eight times during a 17-month study of needs and funding alternatives.
The Forum identified a demand for about $20 billion in transportation needs for the next 30 years and indicates that current revenue falls short of meeting those demands by more than $200 million per year.
The bottom line is that all regions of Idaho face significant
transportation demands and that available resources are rapidly being
stretched beyond our ability to respond. We will continue to look for
solutions that address the system’s overall demands.