Board to consider report on cost allocation study

The Idaho Transportation Board will consider details of a “cost allocation study” when it meets next week for a monthly business meeting in Twin Falls (District 4). The board meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at the Twin Falls City Hall, 305 Third Avenue East. Thursday board members will embark on an all-day tour of the district.

The board initiated a study to determine the fair share of costs that each road user class should pay for the construction, maintenance, operations and related costs of highways, roads and bridges in the state. The report recently was presented to the Governor’s Task Force on Modernizing Transportation Funding. The Task Force accepted the report, with the understanding that it is subject to refinement if new information is received.

The board will be briefed on the study’s findings, some of which include:

  • Highway user payments fall short of expenditures by 21 percent, or, nobody is paying a fair share.
  • When state and federal programs are combined, collections from automobiles exceed cost responsibility by 47 percent, while payments from combination trucks fall 33 percent short of their cost responsibility.
  • At the state level, cars are overpaying by 26 percent while combination trucks are underpaying 27 percent.
  • The equity findings are influenced by the repeal of the weight-distance tax, which has reduced revenues attributed to heavy trucks by an estimated $11.6 million annually.

Other board agenda items

Draft legislation for 2011
The board previously approved the submission of two legislative ideas for the 2011 session to the Division of Financial Management. Because of a recent legislative audit finding, an additional proposal will be presented to the board, along with the draft legislation.

The board will be asked to approve proposed draft legislation for the three ideas.

The first legislative proposal is in response to a new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulation related to Commercial Drivers Licenses and medical certificate requirements. States that are not in compliance by Jan. 30, 2012 will be subject to a sanction. The impact to ITD would be approximately $9 million the first fiscal year, beginning Oct. 1, 2013, but would increase to $18 million each fiscal year thereafter.

Legislation to codify continuous appropriation of funds in the Local Bridge Inspection Account and Railroad Grade Crossing Protection Fund also is being proposed. The third idea would allow the appropriation of state funds for operational and capital replacement costs in the Aeronautics air flight program.

Overlegal permits administrative fees
Last month, ITD staff members reported on the current overlegal permit administrative fee schedule. The revenue ITD received for issuing these permits was approximately $1 million less than the costs associated with issuing them. It was noted, however, that the revenue from the permit fees are placed in the Highway Distribution Account. That money is distributed to Idaho State Police, local public agencie and ITD. If ITD would receive all of the revenue, the department’s costs for issuing the permits would be recovered.

Initially, ITD staff thought legislation would be required to change the distribution of the permit fee revenue. However, upon further research, it was determined that depositing all of this revenue into the State Highway Account (which is limited to ITD use only) can be done administratively.

ITD staff will include that information in its report to the board and indicated it will pursue the administrative remedy.

District 4 tour
The last scheduled tour of the year will take the board to the City of Rocks on the Thursday (Sept. 16).

Congress established the City of Rocks National Reserve in Cassia County in 1988. It encompasses more than 14,400 acres of federal, state and private land. The area also is home to Idaho’s newest state park, Castle Rocks. The park consists of more than 1,440 acres.

At the visitor’s center in Almo, staff will provide a briefing on the City of Rocks Backcountry Byway. Negotiations with the county have been under way to transfer jurisdiction of a 16-mile section of the byway to the state highway system. Federal discretionary funding was secured to reconstruct the road, which provides access to the City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rock State Park from Idaho Highway 77.

The schedule also includes a visit to the Burley Airport, where the board will meet with city and airport officials.

Published 9-10-2010