Hwy 16 GARVEE, public transit representation
A discussion of the Idaho Highway 16 GARVEE corridor highlighted the April meeting of the Idaho Transportation Board, along with the naming of a public transportation representative for south-central Idaho and broadband/small cell considerations.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home order, the monthly board meeting was held via telephone on April 16.
Staff emphasized that advancing the design would be advantageous for proceeding to construction as soon as funding becomes available. It is anticipated that construction would be completed in stages; however, staff does not have a recommendation regarding continuing construction from the north end or south end. Both options would leave a gap in the state highway and would impact local roads.
Approximately $35 million has been identified for the design and additional right-of-way acquisition. The potential funding sources are from reallocating savings from I-84 projects, using funds freed up by the receipt of a $90 million INFRA grant, and design refinements on I-84 projects in the Nampa-to-Caldwell corridor.
The board expressed support to continue exploring this funding proposal and bring it back for approval at a future board meeting.
Public Transportation Advisory Council Appointment
The council is comprised of six members, one from each district, appointed by the board. After the District 4 member resigned, the Public Transportation Office solicited applications. Two individuals applied.
The board unanimously agreed to appoint Jeffrey McCurdy from Twin Falls to complete the District 4 term, which expires June 30, 2021. Mr. McCurdy is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Region IV Development Association, Inc. His responsibilities include assisting public and private partners in developing, planning, financing, and implementing public infrastructure and economic development projects. He has also worked for the City of Rupert with responsibilities related to finance, human resources, grant writing, and businesses recruitment.
Policies for Small Cell Facilities in ITD Right of Way
Broadband and small cell facilities are not owned and operated by utility companies governed by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission and subject to ITD’s guidelines for utility accommodations and rules governing utilities on state highway right of way. Regulation of broadband facilities is derived from the Code of Federal Regulations and guidance from the Federal Highway Administration, while small cell facilities are regulated from executive orders and guidance from the Federal Communications Council.
Nationwide, the best practice for managing small cell facilities in public right of way is through a company specific Master License Agreement. Staff is currently negotiating an agreement with a telecommunication service provider; however, policies are required before a Master License Agreement can be approved and guidance issued to staff to permit placement of these facilities. The proposed policies would authorize staff to finalize a Master License Agreement and permit small cell facilities in ITD right of way.
The board concurred with this approach and asked staff to continue refining the policies and present them for approval in the near future.
Board Policy 4052 and Administrative Policy 5052 Official Travel by Department Personnel were revised to authorize the director to establish the travel spending plan and division administrators and district engineers to monitor and manage their plans. It also clarifies that the most efficient and cost effective travel shall be chosen. The changes are consistent with and meet the State Board of Examiners’ State Travel Policy.
The main changes to Board Policy 4030 and Administrative Policy 5030 Surface Transportation Block Grant Rural (STBGR) Exchange Program increase the cap of federal funds exchanged by the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council from $2.8 million to $4 million for the Rural funding and the rate of exchange from $.6167 to $.80 of state funds for every $1 of federal funds exchanged. The Board approved this change in August, with an effective date of October 1, 2020. Other revisions include nomenclature changes due to federal law changes related to the funding source (block grant) and clarifications to align the program requirements with the policy.