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Does ITD know something the Idaho Legislature cannot understand?

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  • grfranklin53
    If you are going to build it, maybe you should fund it first! From The Idaho Statesman, Saturday, April 19, 2008, Local page Main 2 STATE CUTS FUNDING FOR BIKE
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 19, 2008
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      If you are going to build it, maybe you should fund it first!

      From The Idaho Statesman, Saturday, April 19, 2008, Local page Main 2

      STATE CUTS FUNDING FOR BIKE PATHS, OTHER PROJECTS FOR ROAD MAINTENANCE

      Transportation officials say the decision will free up an estimated
      $12 million.

      By Heath Druzin

      Faced with a worsening budget crunch and little support from
      lawmakers, the Idaho Transportation Board has decided to sacrifice
      bike paths and alternative transportation to put more money into road
      maintenance.
      "It's just a realization that we have to prioritize our projects,"
      Idaho Transportation Department spokesman Mel Coulter said Friday.
      The board voted 5-2 Thursday to suspend programs aimed at alleviating
      congestion and improving tourism planned beyond 2010. The board also
      voted against accepting any more applications for such projects.
      That means about 100 projects that include bike paths, traffic-signal
      coordination and street sweepers that have been submitted but not
      evaluated will not be considered for funding, Coulter said.
      The projects include traffic-light timing in Downtown Boise, a
      historic train-depot restoration in Nampa, and a proposed wildlife
      crossing project to reduce car-deer collisions along Warm Springs
      Avenue east of Boise. Other projects include programs to provide
      transit for the elderly and handicapped.
      The vote means an estimate $12 million more will go into pavement,
      Transportation Department officials said.
      "We are having to decide between maintaining our highways and
      suspending programs. The board is not making this decision lightly,"
      said Transportation Board Chairman Darrell Manning.
      Some are unhappy with the decision.
      "It really reduces alternative transportation options, especially
      here in the Treasure Valley," said Sara Cohn, spokeswoman for the
      Idaho Conservation League. "We have some pretty serious air-quality
      issues."
      Cohn said her group and others will fight to restore the funding.
      "This is definitely not the end of the line," she said.
      The Transportation Board vote comes on the heels of a legislative
      session that produced no new funding sources for roads, despite the
      transportation department running an estimated $240 million annual
      deficit. Lawmakers had little will to raise vehicle fees or gasoline
      taxes this election year. Instead, they ordered a performance audit
      of the Transportation Department.
      Gov. Butch Otter, who champions raising more money for roads, issued
      a statement in support of the vote.

      Heath Druzin: 373-6617
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