Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter called the Vista Interchange project a critical improvement to one of Idaho’s busiest roads – one that will improve safety and create jobs while helping to drive business development in southwestern Idaho.
“For thousands of people a day, the Vista Interchange is the Treasure Valley’s gateway to commerce,” Governor Otter said. “It provides a primary link from Idaho’s largest airport to our largest metropolitan area. It’s the first part of Idaho that many people see on the ground, so it plays an important role in our efforts to attract and retain quality employers who provide the kinds of careers our people need.”
Addressing Idaho’s huge and growing backlog of road and bridge maintenance, repair and improvement needs is a key element of Governor Otter’s Project 60 initiative – a comprehensive, coordinated statewide effort to create jobs and economic opportunity.
The Vista projec (see related story) t is expected to create or sustain 320 direct construction and engineering jobs during the planned one-year rebuild. Governor Otter, however, is looking ahead to the potential that a more functional interchange will bring for businesses and job creation throughout southwestern Idaho.
Even in a challenging economy, a number of projects are underway in the Treasure Valley that will add businesses and jobs. Meridian’s new health sciences and technology corridor, “The CORE,” highlights the quick 10-minute drive from the Boise Airport as one of its top assets. Anchored by St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center and Blue Cross of Idaho, The CORE has added 43 new businesses and hundreds of new jobs to the area in the past two years.
In the past year, WDS Global moved into the Treasure Valley with initial plans to hire 650 people. The company quickly revised that number upward, and now employs 1,200 workers in Boise, nearly double its initial estimate. Sorrento Lactalis expanded its cheese operations in Nampa, adding 110 jobs this year, and Brown Mackie College moved in with 50 high-paying jobs in Boise. All rely on access to the Boise Airport for travel to key markets as well as meetings with suppliers and customers.
Ada County’s population has more than tripled and Idaho’s population has doubled since the Vista Interchange was built in 1969. The existing interchange predates the Treasure Valley’s reputation as a technology hub and now is a gateway to the region for numerous high-tech and other industry executives who travel to and from the area.
The interchange also provides access to the Idaho National Guard’s Gowen Field and the National Interagency Fire Center, as well as numerous businesses from cargo carriers to warehouses that serve the airport.
“We must take care of the key assets that provide sustainability and growth for Idaho’s economy,” Governor Otter said. “Projects like this mean good jobs for Idahoans now and in the future.”