The Idaho Transportation Board voted Wednesday to submit a request to the Governor’s office asking approval to proceed with a request of $998 million to the 2007 Legislature for the Connecting Idaho Program. The action came following an extensive workshop on Tuesday (Oct. 17) at Headquarters in Boise. (See related story.)
During the workshop, the board received a briefing on federal funding assumptions and related Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle bonding alternatives. The Connecting Idaho Partners (Washington Group International and CH2M HILL) elaborated on several scenarios for proceeding with Idaho’s largest infrastructure investment to improve critically needed transportation corridors.
If the Legislature adopts the recommended changes to the Connecting Idaho Program, the changes will be incorporated in the FY07-11 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. The working plan also will be updated annually, based on factors such as inflation, public input, changes in Idaho demographics and updated engineering information as design within the corridors progresses.
Other board agenda items
Forum on Transportation Investment
After receiving the Forum’s report and recommendations in January 2006, the board scheduled six public meetings throughout the state to inform the public of the FTI’s findings and to receive testimony on those findings and recommendations.
A summary of the six meetings was presented to the board on the during its business meeting in Boise. More than 255 people attended the hearings statewide, with 60 providing testimony. The main issues that people spoke about during the meetings were:
The board scheduled a special meeting on Nov. 3 to develop a transportation funding plan. A number of options in addition to possible increases in the state fuel tax, and vehicle registration fees and other alternatives such as local option taxes and impact fees will be considered.
Upon approval, the plan will be presented to the governor and then the legislature.
University of Iowa study in Boise
The unique option is being explored as a replacement for the fuel tax revenue stream currently used. The viability of the fuel tax revenue that the nation has relied on for many years to build and repair the highway system is a concern as alternative fuel vehicles become more popular, more efficient hybrid vehicles gain greater acceptance, and other vehicles become more fuel efficient.
Along with Boise, the University of Iowa selected San Diego; Austin, Texas; Baltimore; the Research Triangle in North Carolina; and Eastern Iowa to conduct the study. The goal is to test whether the new funding approach is user-friendly, secure, trouble-free and acceptable to drivers.