Aeronautics staff provides update for Transportation Board

Representatives from ITD’s Division of Aeronautics provided a summary of the state’s air pool costs and revenue from the past three years to members of the Idaho Transportation Board during its monthly business meeting in Boise last week (Feb. 16, 17).

The three airplanes ITD operates are primarily for emergency response, but they also are available for state agency transportation as a way of generating revenue to cover their emergency function. The intent is to set air flight rates to maximize usage; however, that is resulting in the State Highway Fund subsidizing the aircraft costs.

Blick re-elected vice chairman

Idaho Transportation Board members, without objection, re-elected Gary Blick to serve as vice chairman for the coming year. Blick was first elected vice chairman in February 2010. He has been on the board since 1999, representing District 4.

A resident of Castleford, Blick created Gary Blick Trucking, Inc. in 1961 and joined his brothers in forming Blick Brothers Farms, Inc. in 1963.

In 2010, the three planes – Cessna 182, Cessna 206, and King Air – flew 381 hours. The revenue from these flights was $219,064. The flight hours and revenue declined from 2009. Total expenditures for the aircraft in 2010 were $412,813.

The board acknowledged the value of the aircraft, particularly for emergency use. One member asked what the cost would be to have aircraft available in an emergency if the state did not have airplanes. Aeronautics Administrator John DeThomas replied that a medical provider pays about $36,000 per month as a retainer to have a plane available for medical transport on an as-needed basis.

Strict federal regulations govern the transport of explosives, firearms and similar cargo for state agencies such as Idaho State Police. Providing those special services is another example of emergency uses. Obtaining that special certification is expensive for private carriers. And if that service could be found in the private sector in an emergency situation, it would be considerably more expensive than the service ITD provides.

Safety Fest Award
As part of his monthly report to the board, Chairman Darrell Manning said he attended a meeting last month at URS/WGI for the presentation of a special recognition for Employee Safety and Risk Management Manager Cheryl Rost. She was honored for her “exemplary service.”

Rost was presented the Safety Fest Outstanding Contributor award that annually recognizes an organizing committee member for valuable contributions in making Safety Fest a success.

Rost was active on the organizing committee last year and was instrumental in adding new classes to the agenda. She worked tirelessly to assure there were adequate instructors to teach the classes. She also arranged for additional ITD staff to teach some of the classes.

Safety Fest has grown considerably since its inception six years ago. Many people have been touched by this free health and safety training, partly because of Rost's assistance. Safety Fest has now grown to the point where five events are held in Idaho each year: in Boise, Post Falls, Twin Falls, Pocatello and Lewiston.

Last month, (January 25-28) 759 people attended, 1,635 class seats were filled, 46 classes were offered (one in Spanish, three were two-day classes), eight states were represented (Idaho, Washington, Utah, California, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and Oregon), and 210 people participated.

This compares to 189 people who attended in 2005, filling 416 class seats. There were 26 classes offered.

Although Rost had a prior commitment and was unable to attend the board meeting, Chairman Manning congratulated her on receiving the award and also on her retirement earlier this month.

Published 2-25-2011