The Idaho Transportation Board will begin its three-day visit to District 3 with its annual workshop on the draft budget and Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) on Monday (June 18).
The STIP identifies transportation projects that have been selected through an inclusive and ongoing process. It is required to be multi-year, fiscally constrained, and multi-modal. In addition to highway and bridge projects, the document includes highway safety, airport, railroad crossing safety and public transportation projects.
The draft STIP will be available for public review and comment from June 28 until July 27. The board will be asked to approve the final FY08-12 STIP at its September meeting. The document then will be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration for their approval.
A special discussion is planned on the Safety Rest Area Program because board members wanted to revisit the funding level. The board initiated a $10 million annual program to ensure the existing rest area facilities are adequately maintained and to construct new facilities. However, in light of the department’s funding challenges, the board may opt to forgo planning new rest areas and instead budget funds only for maintenance and rehabilitation of existing facilities.
Other board discussion
Aircraft pilot staffing
The ITD aircraft fleet includes one multi-engine aircraft and two single-engine planes.
A management decision was made earlier to fly the state’s King Air (multi-engine airplane) with two pilots. When the board learned this year that the governor was flown in one of the single-engine aircraft with only one pilot, it questioned the pilot guidelines for all aircraft.
Aeronautics Advisory Board (AAB) Chairman Rodger Sorensen plans to address the issue at the board’s business meeting on Tuesday (June 19). The AAB reviewed the issue and will recommend the state’s multi-engine airplane should be flown with two pilots, however, the single-engine airplanes should be flown with one pilot.
Digital license plate update
Work is under way to convert current license plate designs to the digital format. The department will implement the new process later this summer that shifts production and distribution of specialty plates to Correctional Industries. Specialty plates will be mailed to customers, eliminating the need for county offices to keep an inventory of the 38 variations.
County offices have been very positive about the new process.
A total of $525,000 has been programmed for FY08. The board will be asked to approve the council’s recommendations, including initiation of the Common Alerting Protocol module, which will consolidate the weather reporting concepts into an automated presentation, resulting in weather information being made more meaningful to motorists; television access to traveler services via public access cable channel or public TV; and other ongoing minor system enhancements.
Additionally, longer-term enhancements and research on other potential improvements are being recommended. Some of these include bilingual applications, coordination with other states to share information and improving the public transportation information provided.