The Joint Appropriations and Finance Committee Wednesday authorized ITD and its bonding agent to issue $246 million in GARVEE bonds to fund transportation projects in six corridors during fiscal year 2008.
Following nearly an hour of discussion, members settled on the middle of three similar proposals. The highest of the three would have funded the department’s request of $264 million and provided an additional $23 million for projects in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program that would have been affected by GARVEE debt service. The total would have been $287 million.
The other proposal would have authorized $211 million.
During discussions of all three JFAC proposals, members expressed their confidence in the transportation board and department to appropriately administer GARVEE projects.
“I appreciate their comments about the abilities of our staff and the balanced approach our board members take in addressing statewide demands,” said ITD Director Pam Lowe. “We have very capable people in the department, and I believe the discussion showed an awareness of that expertise.”
Funding is limited to the same six corridors that were identified in the 2006 GARVEE legislation:
JFAC’s approval included a provision that allows the transportation board to shift funds among those projects as necessary, with limitations.
“…the Idaho Transportation Board has the authority to adjust GARVEE bond proceeds allocated among the projects as listed… provided that such an adjustment is necessary due to unanticipated reasons or circumstances or to accommodate federally approved alternative and innovative approaches to the overall project development process,” according to Section 8 of the funding bill.
Other important provisions of the JFAC action included:
JFAC’s approval also includes the intent that ITD will submit reports on the progress of GARVEE projects by Sept. 30 each year.