Transportation board receives Zero Based Budget report

Although a 2009 Governor’s Executive Order required ITD to implement zero-base budgeting (ZBB) in two stages, the department’s management decided to include all programs in its FY13 zero-base budget analysis.

The change to ZBB is being done in conjunction with the department’s realignment to ensure that programs match legal mandates by reviewing all programs, including funding and personnel. The report is due to the Division of Financial Management on Sept. 1.

The Idaho Transportation Board received an overview on the process and a status report when it met last week (May 19) in Shoshone.

The transition to ZBB has three primary elements:

1. An analysis was undertaken to ensure the department’s mandates are being completed.
2. The resources to meet the mandates were identified and allocated accordingly.
3. The priorities of the cost centers were identified.

To date, the cost centers and analysis method have been approved by the Division of Financial Management, the legal mandate analysis has been completed, budgets and personnel have been allocated among the units and defined work outputs, and the cost center rankings have been completed by the ITD Executive Team. Areas of duplication are being identified.

The last steps are to complete the analysis and produce the final report.

Other board action

Highway Information Technology Plan
The Division of Highways has made a number of investments and improvements to its technology systems in the past.

Recent upgrades to the network improved performance at all maintenance sheds, and consolidation of data lines yielded an estimated yearly cost savings of almost $500,000. Another success was the installation of a new phone system, replacing a failing system that was no longer supported. Some projects have been completed as part of the Transportation Asset Management System (TAMS), resulting in improved data and efficiency.

Technology projects being developed now include the fleet management system, Intelligent Transportation Systems architecture and project scheduling.

A technology investment plan is being created to help guide projects that still need to be done. A business and technology assessment will be conducted on the remaining systems, then a future technology model will be created that will identify the schedule, resources needed and estimated costs of the identified projects. That will be followed by prioritizing and scheduling projects and system enhancements. A key component will be to ensure that the department has valid cost estimates and skilled employees for the projects.

District 4 Report
District 4 Engineer Devin Rigby summarized some of the activities and accomplishments of the past year. The district has established partnerships and good working relationships with numerous entities. It delivered all of its projects by the end of the first quarter except one. A concerted effort has been made to improve the design package, making projects easier to construct.

Addressing pavement deficiency has been a focus area, as 19 percent of the district’s pavements are deficient. TAMS is a valuable tool, providing information to address pavements before they become deficient.

To improve customer service, ITD staff conducts “after storm” critiques to determine what worked well and where improvements are needed. The weather sites will be upgraded, resulting in better data. That information will assist the maintenance crews with their activities and service.

Delegation – Southern Idaho Tourism
The Executive Director from Southern Idaho Tourism reported on a number of attractions in south central Idaho, but focused on the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway.

With the Hagerman Wildlife Management Area(see photo above) along the route, preserving 880 acres of wetlands and riparian areas, one of the more popular features of the byway is wildlife viewing. In partnership with ITD, the Hagerman Rest Area provides a wildlife viewing area. Plans are under way to improve access to the viewing area and make it safer. The project will be in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The wildlife viewing areas are popular for school field trips. With the reduced funding for education, teachers look for inexpensive field trip ideas.

Photo: Wildlife viewing area at the Hagerman Rest Area.

Published 5-27-2011