Governor's transportation funding conference
How would you fund construction and maintenance of nearly 12,000 lane miles of highway and more than 4,000 bridges at a time when revenue is flat, inflation is skyrocketing and demand is unprecedented?
Idaho citizens, elected officials and local highway administrators in Caldwell, Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston considered the challenge this week during the first three of six statewide transportation revenue conferences.
Idaho Gov. CL. “Butch” Otter and his staff joined ITD representatives in giving formal presentations during daylong sessions and concluding each of the three conferences with public meetings.
The response clearly indicates that Idaho citizens are aware of the funding crisis and are willing to help arrive at a solution. The Forum on Transportation Investment concluded in 2006 that Idaho has an estimated annual shortfall of about $200 million. It was adjusted to about $240 million more than a year. Hyper inflation continues to push the shortfall even higher.
"By the end of the summer, everybody will understand the gravity of the situation, and we will agree on some legislation," said Clete Edmunson, Otter's special assistant on transportation.
In Coeur d’Alene Gov. Otter reiterated that all reasonable options “are on the table” and that once he and ITD arrive at an action plan that is acceptable to the Idaho Legislature, the final result likely will be a blend of revenue sources.
Monday’s meeting at the College of Idaho in Caldwell drew approximately 100 people. The Wednesday event at the Best Western Coeur d’Alene Inn also drew a capacity crowd.
The conference continues next week with all-day meetings in Idaho Falls (Tuesday) and Pocatello (Wednesday). The conference is scheduled to conclude Aug. 5 in Twin Falls.