Emergency relief funding, GARVEE refinance, and Federal Lands access highlight upcoming board meeting          

Approval of funds for emergency repairs stemming from the recent wet winter weather, review of Federal Lands access improvements, and possible refinance of GARVEE bonds will highlight next week’s Idaho Transportation Board meeting in eastern Idaho. A tour of area roadways will begin on Thursday (July 20) and the monthly board meeting will be held on Friday (July 21) at ITD’s offices in Rigby.

The tour July 20 will focus on the U.S. 20 corridor north of Idaho Falls. Plans include visiting the Mesa Falls Visitor’s Center, operated by the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and Harriman State Park. The visitor center is housed in the historic Big Falls Inn, which was built around 1915. A nearby trail and boardwalk provide spectacular views of Mesa Falls.

Emergency highway repairs
At its business meeting July 21, the board will be asked to approve funding for weather-related road repairs.

In May, the Federal Highway Administration authorized $1.25 million for work associated with flooding in March on the state and local highway systems. Staff is recommending $744,000 to fund the most critical emergency repairs on the local system, and $506,000 on the state system in north and north-central Idaho.

District 1 will also request the addition of six projects to the program to begin development work. This past spring, numerous areas in the district experienced extremely wet weather, causing extensive flooding. Saturated ground caused many slides. Projects on ID 5, ID 57, U.S. 95, and ID 97 qualify for Emergency Relief funding.

Federal Lands Access Program
The Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) was established to improve transportation facilities that provide access to, are adjacent to, or are located within federal lands. The program supplements state and local resources for public roads, transit systems, and other transportation facilities with an emphasis on high-use recreation sites and economic generators.

The Federal Highway Administration Federal Lands office in Vancouver, Washington provides oversight for Idaho’s FLAP funding of approximately $14 million annually. A call for projects for FY20 and FY21 was issued late last year, resulting in 27 projects requesting almost $90 million.

The prioritized list of projects will be presented to the board for its information. Top projects are Riverside Road improvements in Boundary County, preserving the Goose Lake Road in Adams County, and an ID 21 wildlife overpass project at Cervidae Peak in Boise County.

GARVEE bond refinancing
The department and its GARVEE financing partners review market conditions periodically to determine if they are favorable for refinancing a portion or all of the outstanding GARVEE debt.

A recent review indicates that now is a good time to enter the market to refund (or refinance) a portion of the outstanding bonds. Staff will elaborate on this review and request Board approval to refinance the issuance of the bonds in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $106 million.

Published 07-14-17