Conservation League urges support for enhancements
From the Idaho Conservation League
Bikeways and pedestrian trails should be considered an integral part of transportation planning, more than 20 cities, counties, businesses and organizations around the state have told the Idaho Transportation Department.
On April 16th and 17th, the ITD Advisory Board will meet in Lewiston to discuss an almost $200 million funding shortfall. Among its alternatives, the Board will consider reduced support for the Transportation Enhancement Program.
The Transportation Enhancement Program gives Idaho communities access to
funds to support bikeways and pedestrian pathways and preserve historic
transportation corridors and structures. Many Idaho communities rely on this
money to safely link important destinations using sidewalks or bike paths and to
preserve Idaho heritage corridors like the Oregon Trail.
In the last week, 22 Idaho businesses, cities, counties and organizations have
come together in support of the Transportation Enhancement Program. The
organizations and municipalities include the Idaho Conservation League,
Kootenai Environmental Alliance, Pocatello, Nampa, Coeur d’Alene and Blaine
County, among many others.
“We have successfully completed three projects under this program in the
communities of Weiser, Cambridge and Council,” said Shirley Atteberry with
Friends of the Weiser River Trail, Inc. “With the Enhancement Program funds we
were able to upgrade the recreational trail and thereby improve the quality of
life for local residents.”
Since the Enhancement Program was started in 1992, Idaho communities
statewide have used almost $60 million to improve or create alternative
transportation options or to restore historic corridors and train depots. The
Idaho Transportation Department expects an additional $5.5 million to be spent
in fiscal year 2009.
“Cities need to start thinking of ways to improve air quality in light of EPA’s new
ozone standards,” said Sara Cohn, Idaho Conservation League. “This program
funds community projects that give Idahoan’s transportation choices.
Commuters have the option to safely ride their bikes to work rather than spend
money on increasingly expensive gas. Supporting this program means
supporting air quality, safe communities and Idaho’s unique quality of life.”
See related letter