Governor reminds legislators transportation
Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter welcomed Legislators back to the refurbished Capitol and the opening of the decade’s first legislative session Monday (Jan. 11). But his combined State of the State and budget address also included a monumental challenge.
Gov. Otter emphasized the need to cut an additional $40 million from state spending before the end of this fiscal year and the need to carry that austere approach into the next fiscal year – without raising taxes.
“As you know, the tiered holdback that I ordered in September gets us only part of the way to addressing the projected shortfall in our Fiscal Year 2010 revenue. I am asking you today to approve that holdback and to bring your collective wisdom and experience to bear on the remaining shortfall.”
State government must lead by example, he insisted.
Gov. Otter pointed to ITD as an example of achieving greater efficiency with existing resources.
“Transportation remains a very important priority for my administration – as I know it does for you. Our economic well-being as individuals and as a state will remain in jeopardy without safe and efficient corridors of commerce.
"That’s why Lieutenant Governor (Brad) Little is leading my Transportation Task Force – with the help of legislators and private citizens – to carefully study and consider the long-term needs that still must be addressed once our economy turns around.
“In the meantime, we’re focusing on what works in making better use of the people’s money! At the Idaho Transportation Department, changing the way we’re doing business is working. It’s led to millions of dollars in savings on highway projects throughout the state. Along with federal stimulus funding, that’s enabling us to stretch our transportation dollars father than ever – a fact I know Chairmen (John) McGee and (JoAn) Wood appreciate.”
Transportation funding has been fundamental to discussions the past several years at the Legislature. It took center stage again this week as new ITD Director Brian Ness, Deputy Director Scott Stokes and administrators made a formal presentation to the joint Senate and House transportation committees.
They provided legislators an overview of ITD’s goals, performance measures and implementation of the governor’s executive order and the department’s commitment to accountability and credibility. They also discussed a project to deliver Division of Motor Vehicles services more efficiently.
ITD will meet with members of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) Feb. 11 to discuss the department's FY 2011 budget.