August 27, 2010

Transportation board
Revised Six-Year Capital Facilities Program approved
The Idaho Transportation Board last week approved a revised Six-Year Capital Facilities Program that maintains and extends the useful life of ITD’s buildings. The decision came Thursday (Aug. 190 during the final business meeting of the year at a district location. The goal of the building program is to achieve a sustainable design that maintains and extends the useful life of the department’s buildings.


Highway safety
Survey shows average seat belt use at 77.9 percent
More than three-quarters of Idaho motorists regularly wear seat belts while driving, according to a survey conducted by Idaho’s public health districts for ITD’s Office of Highway Operations and Safety. Motor vehicle occupants in southwest Idaho buckled more often than in any other region, at a rate of 93.2 percent. They were followed closely motorists in north-central Idaho where the observed rate was 87.4 percent. Motor vehicle occupants in southeast Idaho were observed wearing seat belts only 62.6 percent of the time.

ITD, ISU receive federal training grant for under-represented populations
ITD and educational partner Idaho State University will implement a new training program for under-represented populations following the award this week of a $190,577 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced ITD’s award as part of $5.9 million dollar program to support transportation-related training in 19 states and Washington, D.C.


I-84 worker injured in fall
A worker on the Ten Mile Interchange project sustained non life-threatening injuries at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday when he fell about 20 feet and landed in construction material at one end of the bridge. Ada County Paramedics transported Michael M. Burke from the construction site west of Meridian to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boiser. His condition was reported as stable Friday morning.

Report calls for increasing system capacity
Several states participated in the national release today (Monday, Aug. 30) of "Connecting Rural and Urban America," the third in a series of reports by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) that identify the need to increase capacity in the transportation system.

Increased capacity, transit expansion are compatible
John Horsley, AASHTO

Expanding the ability of the transportation system to meet the needs of the traveling public is critical to the health of our economy and the quality of life of our citizens. Meeting future needs will require a balanced approach, which preserves what has been built to date, improves system performance and adds substantial capacity in highways, transit, freight rail and intercity passenger rail.

Auguest 20, 2010

Direct from the Director

Hiring freeze is cautious response to economic uncertainty

ITD employees,
As a hedge against the uncertain economy and funding for the department, I have decided to broaden the department’s cautious approach to filling vacant positions by initiating a hiring freeze. The hiring freeze will be in place until further notice.

It makes more sense to freeze hiring than to lay people off if the economy slows even further. In addition, I am looking at ways we might become more efficient, including reorganizing the department. It would be short-sighted to continue to fill vacant positions that could be impacted by the potential shifting or combining of job responsibilities.


Back-to-School Safety

Motorists, children urged to use caution
Parents across Idaho have spent the past few weeks filling school supply lists and shopping for new clothes to dress their children for the impending school year. But too often safety is low on the back-to-school priority list. ITD wants to make the return to school as safe as possible for more than 275,000 children, their parents and their schools. The Office of Highway Operations and Safety, the Safe Routes to School program and ITD administrators encourage parents and children to take measures that will make transportation to school safer.

Children encouraged to walk, bike... but do it safely
ITD recommends that children walk to school if they live within a reasonable distance and if they can do so safely. The added daily physical activity promotes good health, reduces congestion, improves air quality and saves natural resources while teaching children important traffic safety skills.

Motorists, children need to use caution near school buses
Motorists should be keenly aware of the risks that accompany the reopening of schools as more children use sidewalks and bicycle paths. But drivers also need to watch for buses transporting children to and from schools in the morning and afternoon. Buses sometimes stop in travel lanes, requiring approaching vehicles to slow or stop.

Tips offered to make walking, biking safety
ITD recommends that parents and teachers share the following information with children to improve the safety of school commutes:

Safe Routes to School shares benefits of walking, biking
One in three Idaho third-graders is overweight or likely to become obese so ITD’s Safe Routes to School (SR2S) program helps communities support more children walking and bicycling to school to combat the problem. “SR2S helps communities achieve new balance at a time when escalating transportation costs are forcing schools to reduce busing,” said Jo O’Connor, ITD SR2S coordinator. “Choosing to walk or bike to school will benefit kids, parents and the community.”

Idaho part of I-90/I-94 corridor pooled-fund study
Interstate 90 cuts a relatively short swath through northern Idaho – slightly more than 73 miles. But it plays a major role in linking motorists and commerce from Washington to Wisconsin -- and the six states between. ITD became part of an eight-state coalition -- North West Passage" -- in 2005 that focuses on creating a seamless traveler information system along the I-90 route and a northern I-94 loop that extends from eastern Montana to southern Wisconsin. The I-90 segment covers approximately 1,970 miles or roughly two thirds of the nation’s northern width.


Two D-1 groups honored for highway cleanups
In one of Hollywood’s greatest thrillers of all time, Forrest Gump thoughtfully proclaimed: “Life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’ll get. A group of dedicated volunteers in northern Idaho could adopt the phrase as its operational motto. When members of the Pierce Clegg Work Release Center in Coeur d’Alene embark on their regular highway cleanups they’re apt to find almost anything...


Public Transportation
Grant sought to improve ridership, conserve resources
Curbing energy use, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing public transportation ridership are goals of a $1.5 million federal funding request prepared by ITD and the Community Transportation Association of Idaho (CTAI). The Federal Transit Administration will award $100 million in discretionary funds to public transportation agencies nationwide for energy and greenhouse gas reduction through its Transit Investment for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program.