The transportation department plans to introduce legislation during the 2008 session that will govern access to state highways resulting from the state’s continued rapid growth in residential and commercial developments.
A nationally recognized authority on access management gave a detailed presentation to the Idaho Transportation Board on the positive effects an access management plan can play in integrating safety, mobility and commerce.
The board asked ITD staff to develop an outreach plan to inform legislators and public officials about access issues. Staff members will outline plans for the department’s proposed Transportation Access Plan (TAP) when the board convenes next week in Boise for its monthly business meeting. It is planned for Wednesday and Thursday at Headquarters in Boise.
Six meetings will be held around the state, one in each district. The access management expert has agreed to start each of the public meetings with a presentation similar to the one he gave to the board. The presentation will be followed by a summary of ITD’s plans to address access management and the proposed TAP legislation and will conclude with a question and answer session. ITD staff members hope to complete the meetings by the end of November.
Presentations to the Senate Transportation, House Transportation and Defense committees and other appropriate groups will be scheduled.
Other board discussion
Some of the work in FY07 included: developed draft master agreements to clarify university and ITD responsibilities, continued efforts to improve financial management, initial steps in developing a research program Web site, bridge rating software for the Perrine Bridge, and two new research projects: development of performance tests to enhance Superpave mix design and a study of materials used in pavements.
The Research Advisory Council selected 11 of the 29 proposed projects to fund in FY08 at an estimated cost of $500,000. Projects address the department’s strategic goals and key initiatives of practical design, review of specifications, customer service, and efficiency. Some of the projects are a review of the pavement design and specifications, an examination of ways to minimize bridge deck cracking, a study of solutions to improve the chip sealing process, and a survey of state and local highway staff training needs.
Goals for FY08 are to update and finalize program procedures, build an online library for ITD research reports, develop search tools to help staff find information about research and best practices in other states, and assess staffing needs for the research program.
Business Enterprise (DBE) disparity study
A consultant was retained to conduct the disparity study to assist in the implementation of the program.
Tasks included the examination of more than 4,500 construction and engineering contracts and subcontracts from 2002 through 2006, and telephone interviews with more than 3,000 businesses that have potential to be involved in the local transportation contracting industry.
Although the study focuses on federal and state-funded contracts, the study also makes recommendations about implementation for contracts funded by the Federal Transit Administration and Federal Aviation Administration.
Of the minority- and women-owned business enterprises in the transportation construction and engineering industry available for ITD and local government transportation projects, women-owned firms make up 14.5 percent of the total 23.2 percent while Hispanic American-owned and Native American-owned followed at 3.6 percent each.
The consultant will summarize his draft report for board members during the October meeting. Disparities between utilization and availability of minority- and women-owned firms on ITD contracts, especially as prime contractors, were identified. ITD will need strong programs to remove barriers to minority- and women-owned businesses as prime contractors and must continue its efforts to open new subcontracting opportunities.
The draft report will be publicized and comments will be taken at three public hearings in November. The public hearings will be held in Coeur d’Alene, Boise and Pocatello. Comments from these hearings will be taken into consideration when the report is finalized in December.