Rail Safety, State Highway Account Disbursements
and Economic Hardship Application
to highlight upcoming board meeting

Safety at railroad crossings, ITD disbursements from the State Highway Account, and a private citizen’s application for economic hardship will highlight the upcoming November 21 Idaho Transportation Board Meeting.

The board will meet in the auditorium at 8 a.m. on Thursday, November 21.

Rail-Highway Crossing Program
The annual report on the Railway-Highway Crossing Program will be provided.

The program’s goal is to reduce the number and severity of vehicle-train collisions at public rail-highway crossings. A team comprised of ITD staff, and representatives from Idaho Operation Lifesaver (IOL), Idaho Public Utilities Commission, and the Federal Highway Administration, with suggestions from local agencies and rail companies, recommend projects for funding.

Twelve railroad companies operate in Idaho. There are 1,468 rail-highway crossings. Fatalities at these crossings averaged 1.6 annually from 2014-2018. That was a reduction from the five-year average of 2.2 from 2013-2017.

In addition to infrastructure projects, such as improving crossing approaches and active grade crossing equipment installations, education is a key component of the program. IOL works with law enforcement on the Officer on A Train program and railroad right-of-way trespass violations. IOL volunteers also make presentations to schools, trucking firms, and other interested parties, and operate information booths at fairs and other public events. About a year ago, ITD partnered on a pilot project to enhance pedestrian safety at selected passive crossings. Special decals were installed on sidewalks that cross railroad tracks to alert pedestrians who are looking down at their phones that they are approaching a railroad track.

Certification of Receipts and Disbursements
Idaho Code requires the department to account for all money received from the State Highway Fund (i.e. fuel taxes and registration fees). The board will be asked to approve the receipts and disbursements for state fiscal year 2019.

On July 1, 2018, the department had a cash balance of $81,669,000. Total receipts in the State Highway Fund equaled $746,935,400. The department disbursed $752,148,200, leaving a cash balance of $76,456,200 on June 30, 2019.

Economic Hardship Permit Applications
Per administrative rule, the board reviews and makes decisions on permit applications for economic hardships. These commercial motor vehicles exceed the required restrictions on designated routes. The applications are for emergencies and/or economic hardships. The appropriate district is responsible for evaluating the requested route for factors such as line of sight, road curvature, traffic volume, and accident data.

The board will be asked to approve permits to haul cattle on an approximate four-mile section of ID-52 near Emmett in District 3. Without the hardship permit, the rancher would have to find a different means to transport the cattle.


Published 11-15-19