Board to consider two possible legislative proposals

Although the Legislature still is about six months away from convening, ITD’s staff already is planning for the 2011 session that will begin in January. Part of that process includes drafting possible legislation to forward to the governor’s office for consideration before decisions are made on whether to pursue it at the Legislature. ITD staff presented possible legislative proposals to the Executive team for consideration – two of those ideas will go to the Idaho Transportation Board for consideration when it meets Wednesday in Rigby.

Part of its annual schedule of business meetings in the districts, the board meeting will be held at the District 6 office, beginning at 1 p.m. A tour of construction projects in the district will follow Thursday morning.

Board members will be asked to consider two ideas for submission to the Division of Financial Management. If DFM concurs, legislation will be drafted and presented to the board for approval in September.

The first idea will address a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulation that establishes new requirements for drivers subject to Commercial Driver’s Licenses and medical certificate requirements. Failure to comply with the federal regulations will result in a loss of federal highway funds and FMCSA grant funds, beginning Oct. 1, 2013.

Because the department is modernizing its motor vehicles computer system, implementing the FMCSA regulations would require the department to program both the existing and the new systems. To save duplicate costs of approximately $75,000, a request for an extension of the Jan. 30, 2012, implementation deadline has been submitted. If the extension is granted, the legislative idea would be withdrawn for the 2011 session.

The other proposal would codify continuous appropriation of moneys in the Local Bridge Inspection Account and the Railroad Grade Crossing Protection Fund. This legislation would eliminate a point of confusion in the annual appropriation process.

Other board agenda items

Financial statement and program obligations
Through June, which is 75 percent of the way through the federal fiscal year, the department obligated $288.6 million, or approximately 67 percent of the FY10 project costs in the current Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. The target was to have obligated $357.8 million by this time. In comparison, at this time last year, $176.1 million or 52 percent had been obligated.

Through May, the actual revenue received from state sources continues to be below the projected amount. A transfer of more than $3.7 million in the Highway Distribution Account occurred after the May closing. If the State Controller’s Office had made the transfer before the closing, the year-to-date variance would have been just over $1.7 million, or about a 1 percent negative variance.

Revenue to the State Aeronautics Fund from aviation fuels is $335,304 below the projected amount, or a 20 percent negative variance.

Professional Service Agreements
Every month, the Consultant Administration Unit reports on the professional services agreements and term agreement work task activities. In June, staff processed $866,957 in new agreements and work tasks. All but one of the 17 agreements was for local agency projects. The other agreement was needed because of the special expertise required as part of the development of the Statewide Transportation Systems Plan.

Two supplemental agreements to existing agreements were processed in the amount of $569,545. One would continue staff augmentation for contract administration and construction oversight on District 1’s U.S. 95, Sandpoint North and South project. The other supplemental agreement is for engineering analysis of interchange replacement options as part of the I-15 Corridor Plan in District 5.

District 6 Tour
A tour of District 6 on Thursday will focus on the greater Idaho Falls area.

The activities will start with a joint meeting with the Aeronautics Advisory Board. The department then will discuss U.S. 20 from Idaho Falls to the Idaho National Laboratory. All of the legislators from District 6 were invited to attend the meeting. Officials from INL are also expected to attend.

The tour will end after the board watches the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels precision flying team practice. The Blue Angels team also will rehearse on Friday. The Blue Angels are the featured performance of this year’s Extreme Blue Thunder Air Show, Saturday and Sunday (July 24-25) at the Idaho Falls Regional Airport.

Published 7-16-2010