Linx, a regional initiative that coordinates transportation in the Greater Yellowstone Region, earned the I-Way Leadership Award for public transportation in eastern Idaho last week. The Idaho Transportation Board and the Community Transportation Association of Idaho (CTAI) presented the award to Linx representatives during the board’s regular business meeting in Pocatello.
The public-private partnership brings users, investors and government agencies into the governance of a co-op. Riders are able to purchase a single ticket to reach destinations in the Greater Yellowstone Region, in districts 5 and 6, through the cooperative arrangement. It reflects a meaningful partnership that includes social service and private business transportation services.
Other board discussion
District 5 report
The district spends 48 percent of its operating budget on winter-related activities, such as fuel and salt; 19 percent is invested in proactive maintenance such as sealing bridges, 16 percent is spent on utilities, 12 percent funds traffic services like painting and signing, and 5 percent is devoted to rest area maintenance, including both contracted service and in-house work.
District 5 also established a winter maintenance performance measure. The Winter Storm Index is a measure of ice duration divided by the severity of the storm.
Of the additional funding, $11.5 million will be applied to right-of-way acquisition on the Idaho Highway 16 Extension, I-84 to Idaho 44 project, and $500,000 for program management. Additionally, the program achieved $17.5 million in savings that may be reallocated to other GARVEE projects.
ITD staff members recommended using $10.5 million and $7 million of savings on right-of-way for the Idaho 6 Extension and the U.S. 95, Garwood to Sagle projects, respectively. If not all of that funding is needed for right-of-way, it can be applied to the construction of either project.
Additional funding will be necessary for construction of the Idaho 16 extension and U.S. 95 project in northern Idaho. To connect Idaho 16 from Idaho 44 south to U.S.-20/26, $82.2 million will be needed. Staff estimates $100.6 million will be required to construct interchanges and select frontage roads as part of the U.S. 95, Garwood to Sagle project.
District 5 tour
The Chubbuck mayor asked the board to construct a new interchange on I-15 at Siphon Road. He believes that access would benefit the cities of Chubbuck and Pocatello and would contribute to economic development.
The American Falls mayor thanked the board for reconstructing the I-86, American Falls interchange. Because she realizes there are numerous needs throughout the state and that the funding is very limited, she really appreciated commitments the board made to the major project in her community. The board viewed the interchange project now under construction for $6.8 million. The existing structure, built more than 50 years ago, has insufficient vertical clearance. It has been hit at least four times by overheight loads in the past 12 years.
While in American Falls, board members also visited the community airport. The facility was built in the 1940s for agricultural use. It later was donated to Power County with the provision the county would retain ownership as long as it is used as an airport. The airport manager expressed appreciation for the assistance it receives from the transportation department, particularly grant funding.