The Idaho Transportation Board and ITD staff learned about new approaches to an old form of transportation during a tour that preceded the October business meeting in Boise.
The ITD meeting included a tour of MotivePower. The Boise plant manufactures new commuter and switcher locomotives, provides locomotive fleet maintenance and service, and overhauls and remanufactures older locomotives for a variety of applications. Commuter locomotives can be custom-ordered, including the paint job.
MotivePower, which is a subsidiary of WABTEC, was formed in 1972 under Morrison-Knudson. It has processed approximately 2,700 locomotives since then. It has a workforce of about 700 at the Boise plant and an additional 50 at contract maintenance locations outside of Idaho. It takes six days to build a locomotive – a process that includes building, painting, testing emissions and then inspecting. The average life of a locomotive is 30 years, while the paint job generally lasts seven to 10 years.
During the regular business meeting on Oct. 25, board members considered a report from John V. DeThomas, Administrator of the Division of Aeronautics, on the status of the Idaho Air Transport Investment Forum.
The forum was established in 2005 to better understand the needs of Idaho’s aeronautics system and options available for funding the system. The forum goals were to develop specific revenue-generating ideas that might succeed, develop a strategy to build a strong coalition of support to assist in gaining acceptance of the plan, and develop recommendations on the priority and timing of requesting revenue generating ideas.
Among highlights and conclusions of the report are:
The board approved the summary report of the Idaho Air Transportation Investment Forum. It previously approved a 2008 legislative proposal to increase the aviation fuel tax.
Board members approved the new Snake River Canyon Scenic Byway proposal. The 55-mile route on local roads in southwestern Canyon County generally follows the Snake River. The byway begins near Walters Ferry and ends near Nyssa, Ore. The byway will emphasize agriculture, incorporating the viticulture and hops growing regions of the county and include Fort Boise and the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge.
The Western Heritage Historic Byway in Ada and Canyon counties will be extended 10 miles. The extension will add Celebration Park and a little-known museum at Dan’s Ferry, which has some intriguing historic artifacts that may be of interest to travelers.
The purpose of the 23-mile extension of the Fort Henry Historic Byway in Fremont County is to connect the route with the existing Mesa Falls Scenic Byway. This connection is intended to help marketing and promotional efforts.
The board also approved corridor management plans for the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway in District 4, and the Salmon River Scenic Byway and Sacajawea Historic Byway in District 6. The plans will help ensure protection and orderly development of the scenic byways. They also are necessary for seeking National Scenic Byway designation and then becoming eligible for National Scenic Byway funding.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 14 at Headquarters in Boise