Delegation reports increase in District 4 public transportation

Public transportation partnerships have expanded opportunities for citizens in District 4, a delegation told members of the Idaho Transportation Board last week. Representatives of the district’s Public Transportation Advisory Council gave the report during the regular board meeting at ITD Headquarters in Boise, Dec. 8, 9.

Blaine County School District students can ride Mountain Rides buses in the Sun Valley free. The school district reimburses the public transit provider for those rides. TRANS IV also provides a monthly pass at a discounted rate to senior citizens accessing the senior center.

The economic benefits of public transportation were emphasized – through local and state tax revenues, increased business revenues and profits, enhanced productivity and reduced costs, and increased home values. Public transportation also increases independence and results in healthier and safer communities by improving air quality and promoting healthy lifestyles.

Three of the four providers in District 4 reported an increase in ridership in 2010. Ridership on Salt Lake Express was up 33 percent and Mountain Rides Transportation Authority 11 percent. The LINC voucher service doubled. Cost per ride in the district is $6.27, compared to a statewide average of $6.18.

Other board discussion

Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC) report
LHTAC staff members reported on the Local Rural Highway Improvement Program and also summarized the Technology Transfer (T2) Center’s activities.

There were 92 applications for Local Rural Highway Improvement Program funds in 2010. Of the 33 projects funded through the application process, 15 were for construction projects, eight were transportation plans and nine were sign projects. Four emergency projects also were funded through reserve emergency funds.

The city of Cottonwood received $30,000 for signs. The city of Fruitland received $100,000 for its $378,000 street improvement project. A total of $100,000 was provided to the city of Hansen for right-of-way purchase and improvements for the $227,000 U.S. 30/Rock Creek intersection project. Bannock County received $50,000 to supplement the $1.4 million Portneuf River Bridge project.

LHTAC prioritizes applications by rewarding good transportation planning, multi-jurisdictional cooperation, pavement and sign management and development of a fiv- year Capital Investment Program.

Federal funds provide 50 percent of the T2 Center budget, with rural and urban funds providing 43 percent and ITD 7 percent. It also receives grants.

In 2010, the Technology Transfer Center offered 72 classes ranging from basic math and gravel road maintenance and design to speed limits, speed zones and winter survival. It also hosted two safety festivals that provided training in Pocatello and Lewiston.

Tour of Financial Services
Board members and ITD staff toured the Financial Services Section at Headquarters to meet employees and learn more about the services provided by its three units.

The 14 employees in Revenue Operations are responsible for motor carrier program accounting, revenue billing, collection, and processing, and the county and ITD/DMV program accounting.

The Cost Accounting Unit, with five employees, oversees project budget set-ups and maintenance, federal agency billings, GARVEE program financial administration and cost accounting maintenance and reporting.

Tasks for the 10 General Ledger Unit staff members include financial reporting, financial system maintenance and administration, fixed asset reporting and risk management, accounts payable, payroll and the indirect cost allocation plan.

The section had 43 full-time equivalent positions in FY01. A decade later, that number has fallen to 31. The reduced work force has taken on additional responsibilities over that time, including implementation of a new cost accounting system and the financial responsibilities of the GARVEE Program and American Recovery and Reinvestment Ac projects.

Published 12-17-2010