ITD budget staff provided an overview of the department’s revenue trends as part of a workshop for Transportation Board members in Idaho Falls last week. The workshop, which preceded the board’s monthly business meeting, provided a background for discussions and directions for the draft FY08 budget.
Since 1998, revenue to the General Fund has increased 69.8 percent, excluding the short-term sales tax increase of 1 percent in FY05, while the State Highway Fund and Aeronautics Fund only increased 14.7 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively. It was noted that the increased fuel prices reduce consumption, thereby decreasing the department’s revenue. Another factor is the state’s fuel tax has not been increased since 1997.
At the same time, the costs of doing business have steadily increased, eroding ITD’s buying power.
From 1997 to 2005, the National Construction Cost Index has increased an average of 5.2 percent annually. During that same period, the average annual growth in state revenue to ITD was 1.7 percent.
Because of the revenue and expenditure forecasts, the board was faced with difficult decisions as it guided staff on further budget refinements. The FY08 budget will be presented to the board for approval in August.
Transportation Board business meeting (June 21)
Public Transportation Advisory Council (PTAC)
The PTAC was established by Idaho law to advise the transportation department on public transportation issues and policies. The council is composed of six members, one representing each of ITD’s six districts.
The board approved the $500,000 projects to add enhancements to CARS 511 phone system, improve CARS 511 call center, develop the next generation CARS Web, automate notification from CARS, establish a mileage calculator and route summary, and other ongoing minor system upgrades.
The council also reported on longer-term enhancements: automated notifications for the public and commercial vehicle operators; development and implementation of CARS 4; and remote data entry from ITD maintenance vehicles. Additionally, it requested that its membership be expanded to include a representative from the Ada County Highway District.
Idaho Recreation and Tourism Initiative (IRTI)
The memorandum provides a framework of cooperation among state and federal agencies in the pursuit of recreation and tourism goals shared by the agencies.
ITD has been a non-signatory partner with the IRTI since 1993. The MOU has been updated to formally recognize ITD as an active player. The board approved ITD’s formal participation and authorized the director to sign the MOU.
Photos: ITD staff and board members take a break from their District 6 tour to share lunch in a maintenance shed (top); board member Jack Combo, representing District 6, presents a clock to members of the Arco VFW post for their highway cleanup efforts (middle photo); new board chairman Frank Bruneel (far right) visits with Combo and other board members during a stop on the district tour (bottom right).