Report compares ITD revenue with neighbor states;
board members learn of research activities
Doug Benzon, ITD’s Economics Research manager, compared Idaho’s highway revenue sources with those of neighboring states for members of the Idaho Transportation Board when they met at the District 3 office in Boise last week.
More than half of Idaho’s transportation revenue (58.7 percent) comes from the federal government. Montana receives 59.4 percent of its funding from the federal government, while federal funds account for only 11.3 percent of Washington’s revenue.
Washington and Montana rely heavily on fuel tax, 35.8 and 33.4 percent respectively, compared to 23.4 percent in Idaho. Only 14.1 percent of Wyoming’s revenue is derived from fuel taxes.
Driver and vehicle licenses and fees comprise 10.8 percent of Idaho’s funding. Oregon had the highest percentage at 24.6 while Montana had the lowest, with 5.1 percent.
Some of Idaho’s neighboring states receive revenue from their general fund, lottery, royalties and mineral leases. ITD does not have access to any similar revenue sources.
Benzon also provided a comparison of annual motor vehicle operating costs, based on 2008 state/local gas tax and registration fees. For a vehicle that averages 20 miles per gallon and travels 12,000 miles per year, Idahoans would pay $229.08. Only Oregon had a lower annual operating cost at $189. Nevada’s was the highest at $562.46, followed by Montana at $465.73.
Annual report on ITD’s Research Program
Research Program Manager Ned Parrish also provided the board with a report on the department’s research program. The Research Advisory Council selected projects for funding in FY08 that address the department’s strategic goals and initiatives: practical design, review of specifications, customer service, efficiency and safety.
Some of the year’s accomplishments included finalizing master cooperative research agreements with Idaho’s three universities, meeting with the staff at each university to review program procedures, strengthening the program budget and financial management, and responding to requests for research information on topics such as transportation funding options and the effective use of passing lanes on two-lane roads.
The FY09 research budget is $1.4 million. Some of the planned activities are to complete an assessment of the impact of ITD’s current bridge designs on bridge deck cracking, synthesize research on work zone safety and develop tools to analyze work zone delays, research the use of native plants for roadside re-vegetation, and study the crash-reduction benefits of various safety improvements.
Goals for FY09 include:
Finalize program procedures
Plan a peer exchange
Develop an online library for ITD research reports
Provide additional search tools to help staff find research information from other states
Conduct a research conference to gain consensus on priorities
Begin publishing a semi-annual electronic newsletter, and
Facilitate the transfer of the T-2 Center to the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council